29 Mar 2013

Second man arrested over attack on Ryder

10:17 pm on 29 March 2013

Christchurch police have arrested a second man over the attack on the New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder.

The former Black Cap remains in intensive care in a critical but stable condition in Christchurch Hospital after the attack outside a bar in the early hours of Thursday morning, which left him with a fractured skull and collapsed lung.

However, his condition is said to be improving and he has managed a "thumbs up" sign to his family.

The head of the investigation, Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer, confirmed at a news conference on Friday afternoon a 20-year-old had been arrested and charged with assault and a 37-year-old was being interviewed.

Police later said in a statement that man has been arrested and charged with assault and would appear in Christchurch District Court on Thursday 4 April, the same day as the 20-year-old.

Mr Archer says he has reviewed all CCTV footage and is satisfied they are speaking with the right men.

"From what I have viewed, and I am not going to go into it in too much detail, members of the public got involved to try to break up the fight and that probably swelled the numbers as far as what people saw. But I believe the altercation involved two people initially, and one person in the second incident."

Mr Archer says the younger man was located with the help of a taxi driver, which led to the second man.

Police say the two men are related and have both been released on bail.

Ryder, 28, remains in an induced coma in Christchurch Hospital but is responsive.

A statement from Ryder's mother and partner was released at the conference. It thanked emergency staff, hospital staff, police, members of the public and fans for their support.

Ryder's manager Aaron Klee says Ryder gave family and hospital staff the thumbs up on Friday morning.

He says medical staff are working on the level of sedation to where they can talk to Ryder and make him become aware and talk to them. "We got a thumbs up from him this morning; he's laying there with tubes everywhere."

New Zealand Cricket Player's Association chief executive Heath Mills says medical staff are altering Ryder's medication to assess his responsiveness.

"Jesse is doing better today than he was yesterday. Jesse is in a stable condition in intensive care. He has been responsive and he is interacting with his family and the medical team.

"Jesse is still in an induced coma and is still needing support with breathing following an injury to his lungs.

"In terms of a head injury, it cannot be fully determined at this stage what the effects of the knock to Jesse's head are. We will know more once he comes out of the coma."

Ryder had been socialising with his Wellington Firebirds' team-mates at Aikmans bar in the suburb of Merivale on Thursday night.

After leaving the bar, police say he became involved in an altercation with two or three men outside and, shortly after, was seriously assaulted in a McDonald's car park about 12.30am.

A police spokesperson says a number of leads have come from the public and officers have conducted a thorough review of all security camera footage and witness statements available.

Candlelight vigil

Eighty people gathered for a candlelight vigil outside Christchurch Hospital on Friday evening.

They included mayor Bob Parker, Canterbury Cricket staff and players, and Ryder's family and manager.

It was organised by Christchurch City councillor Aaron Kewon and Canterbury Cricket marketing manager Marc Cini.

Mr Cini says the vigil was a way for people to show their support for Ryder and his family and friends and also to show New Zealand that Christchurch is not about violence.

Mr Kewon says instances such as what happened to Ryder are far too frequent in Christchurch and are completely unacceptable.

Messages of support

Messages of support are pouring in from the international cricketing fraternity.

Ryder, a former member of the Black Caps, was due to fly to India on Saturday to play for the Delhi Daredevils.

Indian Premier League chief executive Sundar Raman wrote on Twitter that it was "Not the best cricketing news to wake up to" and wished Ryder well.

Former Australian fast bowler Damien Fleming described the news as shocking.

The New Zealand team's official Twitter page says the team's thoughts are with Jesse Ryder.

The family's statement

"Both Jesse's mum Heather and his partner Ally would like firstly to thank the amazing ambulance staff who treated Jesse at the scene, as well as the fantastic Christchurch hospital staff for looking after him since.

"Also Aaron Klee (his manager) and Heath Mills who have been there for us and Jesse at this extremely difficult time.

"Many thanks to New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Wellington for their ongoing support. Our families and friends who have constantly kept in touch offering their love, support and kind messages."

In the statement, they also thanked the police for their work.

"Jesse will be chuffed knowing how many people care and have reached out, including the huge number of cricket fans and players from around the world. We have read many of the messages online over the past 24 hours and we are keeping them for Jesse to read when he recovers."

The statement also asked people to respect their privacy at this time, "as our focus is on Jesse getting better."