Victim 'clubbed like a seal' in attack outside Maddens Bar
Shocked witnesses last night described how they saw a man "clubbed like a seal" by thugs outside a popular Belfast bar.
The ferocious attack took place outside Maddens Bar - a popular Irish traditional music pub in central Belfast.
The victim, a man in his 30s, was rushed to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital after the vicious attack, in which a padlock concealed within a sock was used as a weapon.
Blood spattered the crime scene, with the victim ending up slumped against a pile of tyres at the back of the establishment.
Police forensic experts sealed off the scene and scoured the location for anything that could help them catch the callous attackers.
The whole area - which is at the rear of the CastleCourt shopping complex - is covered by a network of CCTV cameras.
A PSNI statement said: "The man suffered cuts and bruises to his head and was taken to hospital for treatment.
"Two males are reported to have fled the scene shortly after the attack".
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said they received a call summoning them to the incident at 3.50pm.
Drinkers at the popular bar said they heard ambulance service paramedics say they thought that the victim's neck had been broken.
Speaking at the crime scene, an eyewitness - who did not want to be named - told the Belfast Telegraph the brutal details of what had happened.
"It was like a murder scene," the reveller said.
"They clubbed him like a seal.
"I heard the paramedics say, 'I think his neck might be broken', as they fitted an inflatable support to the man.
"This was a premeditated attack. You don't hide a brass padlock in a sock and carry it around with you on the off-chance you might want to use it."