AN attack victim is today fighting for her life after she was discovered unconscious and beaten black and blue in a Sunderland garden.
The 45-year-old was found slumped and bleeding, with injuries to her face and body.
She was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital and today remains in a critical condition.
Now detectives are appealing for help from the public.
Mystery surrounds the hours before she was found by her distraught sister in the grounds of a house in Durham Road, Sunderland.
The Echo understands the victim sustained a vicious attack in a ground floor flat in Sandalwood Square, Grindon, over the weekend.
She was then spotted in nearby Gartland Road and Sevenoaks Drive, looking unsteady on her feet sometime after 3pm on Saturday afternoon.
Officers say they are also keen to speak to anyone in Sandalwood Square and Durham Road on Monday morning who saw a woman wearing a dark-coloured coat and a pair of jeans, worn inside out. Detectives say she may well have been walking slowly.
The sister of the victim is understood to have made the emergency call after finding the woman at 10.45am on Monday. She was then taken by ambulance to Sunderland Royal Hospital.
The woman remains critically ill and police have carried out door-to-door inquiries in a bid to determine how she came by her injuries. One neighbour in Sandalwood Square said: “The police came round on Wednesday night asking questions. It looks like it happened in a ground floor flat, just round the corner.”
Janet Jeffries, 32, who was taking her daughter to school yesterday morning, said: “It seems strange that she wasn’t found until Monday morning.
“I know there is a woman who lives there, but I don’t know her.”
Mandy Ruddell, 34, of Grindon, added: “I’d heard someone had been hurt but the police weren’t saying who she was.”
The Echo understands detectives are looking at the possibility the woman was sighted with her attacker in the Grindon and Hastings Hill area over the weekend.
The victim is described as approximately 5ft 1in tall and of large build.
A spokeswoman for the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) said: “We received a call to Durham Road at 10.36am on Monday morning. The victim was unconscious but breathing and was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital.”
A spokesman for Northumbria Police added: “The woman’s condition remains critical.”
l A 40-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault and released on police bail.