Ry­der in coma af­ter dual as­sault

The Pak Banker - - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS/SPORTS -

Jesse Ry­der, the New Zealand bats­man, is in an in­duced coma in hospi­tal af­ter be­ing as­saulted twice late on Wed­nes­day evening in Christchurch. Ry­der, 28, is in in­ten­sive care af­ter suf­fer­ing a frac­tured skull, which Christchurch Po­lice be­lieve hap­pened in the sec­ond of the two at­tacks.

The first as­sault took place at about 12.30am out­side the Aikman's Bar in a Christchurch sub­urb Merivale, where Ry­der had been out with Welling­ton team-mates and friends fol­low­ing their loss to Can­ter­bury to mark the end of the sea­son. The sec­ond at­tack oc­curred min­utes later at the en­trance to the car park of a McDon­ald's across the road, where the other Welling­ton play­ers had gone to or­der food.

"An al­ter­ca­tion has taken place on the foot­path out­side Aikman's in­volv­ing Jesse and a group of at least two other males. The al­ter­ca­tion was brief," De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Brian Archer told re­porters in Christchurch. "Fol­low­ing that in­ci­dent, Ry­der and two other per­sons walked across the road to­wards McDon­ald's, where his Welling­ton team-mates had been pur­chas­ing some food. A sec­ond al­ter­ca­tion has taken place at the en­trance to the McDon­ald's car park, in­volv­ing one of the males from the ear­lier group.

"In that in­ci­dent it ap­pears Jesse has been the vic­tim of a se­ri­ous as­sault and has suf­fered head in­juries as a re­sult. Am­bu­lance and po­lice were called about at 12.44am. Jesse was taken to hospi­tal where he re­mains in in­ten­sive care.

"The hospi­tal ad­vise that Jesse is in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion, he is in an in­duced coma as a re­sult of suf­fer­ing mul­ti­ple in­juries. He is still be­ing as­sessed for a num­ber of in­juries and we are not pre­pared to dis­cuss that any fur­ther."

Archer said that while po­lice had "pos­i­tive lines of in­quiry", they had not yet iden­ti­fied Ry­der's at­tack­ers. CCTV footage from Aikman's and McDon­ald's is be­ing re­viewed, he said. "We be­lieve at least 10 or more peo­ple have wit­nessed some of the events, and we've been speak­ing to wit­nesses through­out the day. There are CCTV cam­eras in the area and we're go­ing through the process of down­load­ing and re­view­ing that footage.

"At the moment we have not iden­ti­fied the peo­ple in­volved in the in­ci­dent, but we do have pos­i­tive lines of in­quiry, and we will be fo­cus­ing on iden­ti­fy­ing and find­ing those peo­ple, and speak­ing to them.

"Although the Welling­ton play­ers had been at a li­censed premises dur­ing the evening, at this stage there is no ev­i­dence that al­co­hol was a con­tribut­ing fac­tor to the as­sault. We are ask­ing any wit­nesses to con­tact po­lice and call­ing for peo­ple in­volved to come for­ward and speak to us about it."

Ry­der, who played 18 Tests for New Zealand be­fore go­ing into a self-im­posed ex­ile from in­ter­na­tional cricket for the last year, was due to leave for In­dia on Fri­day to join the Delhi Dare­dev­ils ahead of the start of the IPL sea­son on April 3. In Jan­uary, he ruled out a re­turn for New Zealand, de­spite his im­pres­sive domestic form.

Be­fore em­bark­ing on his sab­bat­i­cal from in­ter­na­tional cricket, Ry­der had been dropped from New Zealand's ODI side af­ter break­ing team pro­to­cols con­cern­ing al­co­hol. In 2008, again in Christchurch, he in­jured his hand when putting it through a glass win­dow af­ter a drink­ing ses­sion. —

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