Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Brutal attack leaves homeless man critical

Police want to speak to these youths who were in Mills Lane about the time of the attack.
Police want to speak to these youths who were in Mills Lane about the time of the attack.

A building caretaker has spoken of the horror of finding a homeless man fighting for his life in an Auckland alleyway after a brutal assault.

The 42-year-old victim was found with severe injuries in Mills Lane, between Queen and Albert Sts, about 9am on Wednesday. Last night, he remained in Auckland City Hospital in a critical condition.

Police have released photos of three men in their late teens, caught on security camera in the area, who they want to speak to. They are still trying to ascertain who assaulted the man and when.

Building caretaker Anit Ram came across the injured man about 9am and was shocked at what he saw.

"My boss was saying, 'Hello, hello', but the man was not talking. He was making noises, sounds like he had been punched," Mr Ram told the Herald.

"His face was bloody, black. He had black eyes. He wasn't well."

Mr Ram said the area where the man was found was a popular place for homeless people to sleep.

He had checked the security footage from his building and said there was no sign of the attack, only movements of several homeless people to and from the area.

He did not recognise the injured man as someone who regularly spent the night there.

"It was pretty scary. That corner is smelly and disgusting; there are heaps of boxes and cardboard there."

Police set up a mobile command centre in the area yesterday and visited the Herald's security office to inquire about security cameras and footage.

They also viewed hours of footage captured on cameras belonging to other businesses in the lane.

A police spokeswoman said they wanted to speak to the three people captured on CCTV in Mills Lane to see if they could help the inquiry.

The pictures were taken about 6am on Wednesday.

Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson said the assault on the man was horrific.

"He is known to the mission. We all find it incredibly difficult when someone that we know is assaulted."

Last night, Mayor Len Brown appealed for anyone with information about the "despicable and cowardly attack" to contact the police immediately.

- NZ Herald

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