A MAN is fighting for life in hospital after a vicious assault left him with a fractured skull.

The 42-year-old victim is in intensive care having undergone emergency surgery to ease bleeding on his brain in two places caused by his horrific injuries, which police said were “potentially life-threatening”.

Detectives were last night hunting for the attacker, who calmly walked off leaving his victim lying on the ground.

Police said they believe the victim was hit in the attack in Derby Road, Southampton, near its junction with Clovelly Road, and fell to the ground.

Horrified onlookers rushed to the stricken man’s aid.

He was sitting up when police arrived, but his condition deteriorated and he was taken by ambulance to Southampton General Hospital for emergency treatment to three fractures of his skull.

His attacker is thought to have left the scene heading towards Northam Road.

Police cordoned off part of Derby Road to allow specialists to examine the scene for possible forensic clues.

Police said they believe the man responsible could be Russian. He is described as being in his 20s, about 5ft 7in and of skinny build. He had “fairly long” blond hair and it is believed he spoke Russian.

Detectives last night appealed for anyone who knows the attacker or who saw the incident to come forward. Anyone with information should call Shirley CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.