Christchurch - Video footage from a Christchurch bar shows the vicious assault on Jesse Ryder was "completely unexpected", the bar owner says.
According to the stuff.co.nz website, early on Thursday morning the Kiwi cricketer was attacked twice in quick
succession, suffering serious head injuries in the second part of what
one witness called a "Jesse hate fight".
Ryder, 28, is in a critical condition in an induced coma at
Christchurch Hospital with multiple injuries including a fractured
Aikmans bar owner Steve Holmes said after reviewing the
closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage the assault was "completely
Holmes said Ryder, who had played cricket for Wellington against
Canterbury in Christchurch on Wednesday, was leaving the Merivale bar with 10 to 12 of his team-mates.
He was the last in the group to leave and as he was doing so, Holmes said one of the alleged attackers called out to him.
Ryder went back to talk to the man and the two appeared to chat before shaking hands, Holmes said.
After a few minutes he said the "body language changed" between the
two. Ryder walked out of the bar and the man followed him, seemingly
yelling after him.
An older man, who was at Aikmans with the other man, also followed
and Holmes said there was a bit of "pushing and shoving" outside the
bar before Ryder walked away.
The two men followed and attacked the cricketer again.
Holmes said one of the bar's senior staff members broke up the
fight and stopped the attackers from re-entering the bar while Ryder
staggered over the road to the Merivale McDonald's fastfood restaurant.
After telling the attackers "they were not welcome", the staff
member went to check on Ryder and realised "just how bad it was".
Holmes said he had "no idea" how the fight started.
"One of the groups was outside and one was inside. There was no altercation until the cricket team left basically.
"No-one was heavily intoxicated, it was just a mediocre Wednesday night," he said.
"We didn't have security on because it was quiet night of the week and we didn't need it.
"Obviously the bar sends its best wishes to Jesse's family over Easter. We wish him a speedy recovery."
Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer said it was in the second
attack outside the nearby McDonald's in which Ryder sustained his most
Police were still working to understand any motives for the attack.
They have not publicly released photos or CCTV footage, suggesting
they had suspects.
Archer said most of Ryder's teammates were in McDonald's ordering food when he was attacked.
Ryder - who has had a well-publicised battle with alcohol - had
been drinking. But alcohol was not an aggravating factor in the attack,
which was witnessed by about 10 people, he said.