Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with a “disgusting” attack on a 65-year-old man in St Helens.
The victim was punched to the ground in an unprovoked assault in Ward Street in the town centre on Friday night.
He was taken to hospital suffering from a serious head injury where his condition remains stable.
Two teenage boys aged 15 and 17 have been arrested and are currently being questioned by detectives.
The 65-year-old victim was walking with his friend along Ward Street just before 7pm when they were approached by two younger men.
One of the men asked the victim and his friend if they smoked and if he could borrow a cigarette. When the pair said they didn’t smoke, the victim was then punched in the head by one of the offenders and fell to the ground.
The two offenders then ran off along Ward Street while the victim’s friend call the emergency services.
The 65-year-old was taken to a local hospital with a serious head injury and has since been transferred to Walton Neurological Centre in Liverpool for treatment. He remains unconscious at this time and his condition is described as stable.
The first offender is described as white, slim, and around 5ft 8ins tall. He was wearing a dark-coloured baseball cap and an all grey tracksuit.
The second man was also aged in his late teens or early twenties and around 5ft 8ins tall but of medium build. He was wearing a blue coat with a hood, dark-coloured jogging bottoms and had long dark hair.
Det Insp Cath Haggerty said: “This was a completely unprovoked assault by two youths on a much older man who was simply out and about with his friend.
“When they told the offenders that they didn’t smoke so couldn’t offer them a cigarette the 65-year-old gentleman was punched in the face.
“We believe the punch has knocked him to the floor where he has hit his head and suffered a really serious injury.
“I’m sure people living in the area will be disgusted by this incident so I would appeal for them to help us bring the offender or offenders to justice.
“It was a wet evening but plenty of people will still have been out walking or driving past at the time. If you remember seeing two young men acting suspiciously before the attack at 6.50pm or running away afterwards then please call us on 0151 777 6064 or leave information anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”