The devastated parents of a young man who was stripped, beaten and dumped in a sealed bin have said they have been shattered after he was left for dead.
Adam Robinson is in a stable condition and is recovering in hospital after sustaining multiple injuries in the horror attack.
The naked 20-year-old was found inside the taped-up blue recycling bin at Sentry Hill in Ballymena by a man walking his dog.
Three men and one woman have been arrested in connection with the incident during which there may have been an attempt to set the bin on fire.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Adam's devastated parents Mervyn and Wilma, who live in a quiet, residential area, said they have no idea why their son was targeted.
"We got a call from the police after 4pm on Tuesday," said Mr Robinson.
"We are still in shock. He was found with no clothes on in a bin that was taped closed tightly.
"He couldn't get out. If it hadn't been for that man and his dog, who knows what could have happened?
"The dog walker heard someone kicking in the bin trying to get out.
"But if he hadn't walked by, or if it had been raining, maybe no one would have found Adam."
Mr Robinson (55) and his wife Wilma Stewart, who is in her late 40s, said they went to Sentry Hill after they received the call.
"Adam could speak, but he was very confused," said the father-of-four.
"We followed him in the ambulance to Antrim Area Hospital but we still don't know the exact extent of his injuries.
"He was very badly beaten all over, his left knee is badly damaged, his wrist is possibly broken, there were knife cuts all over his body and he could have liver damage.
"We're just waiting for further results and tests. He's stable and being monitored.
"We don't know what motive there could be for this at all."
Adam's sobbing mother Wilma said the savage attack on her son had left her heartbroken and distressed.
"We don't know what happened apart from he was found nearly dead in a bin and that's very difficult for any mother to have to come to terms with," she said.
It is not clear where the assault on Adam – who is currently between jobs, according to his father – took place.
DUP Assembly Member Paul Frew said police had told him the incident did not happen in the park, but the victim was later brought there.
There have been reports locally that a dispute over money may have broken out during a house party in the nearby Dunclug area.
Mr Frew said: "Sentry Hill is used on a daily basis by dog walkers and joggers and it's popular with families.
"People don't understand what, how and why this could have happened there."
PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Tracey Mageean said a full investigation had been launched with a definite line of inquiry.
"At this time, I do not believe that there is a sectarian motive nor do I consider that it is paramilitary-related," she added.
"This incident has shocked local people as this is an area where crime isn't prevalent."
DCI Mageean appealed for anyone who saw suspicious activity in the Doury Road, Dunclug or Dunvale areas of Ballymena on Tuesday afternoon to contact police.