THE family of a dog walker described as a “loveable giant” have appealed for witnesses to come forward after he was brutally attacked in the street.
Victim Brendan McKelvey, aged 49, is still in hospital after he was found lying across a pavement and into the road with Pip, his Patterdale terrier dog, beside him.
The incident happened some time before 2am on Friday in Chorley Old Road, near the junction with Chorley New Road.
Matthew McKelvey, Mr McKelvey’s brother, said: “Please help us to catch the person who did this to our son, brother and much loved uncle.
“Nobody deserves to be where he is.
“Brendan is a fun, caring, loveable giant who would do absolutely anything for anyone.
“He is well liked and loved by all his friends and family who he lives for, as well as his pet dog Pip and his lifelong passion, fishing.
“We would like to convey our special thanks and gratitude to the two men who stopped to help Brendan and essentially saved his life."
Mr McKelvey has undergone surgery on his head injury and is still heavily sedated.
Police believe witnesses could hold the key to the investigation and urge anyone who thinks they saw Mr McKelvey prior to the attack to come forward.
Det Insp Andy Cunliffe said: “Brendan is still poorly and sedated. His family is absolutely devastated. This has torn their world apart.
“I need to hear from anybody who saw Brendan near to where Chorley Old Road joins Chorley New Road and St George’s Road.
"We know from the motorist who helped Brendan that other people were driving around him.
“Somebody must have seen him there. He is a big chap and was walking with his dog.”
Police have revealed that Mr McKelvey, from Hunger Hill, was seen at about 1.15am near Bark Street in Bolton town centre.
Police want to trace his steps from there.
Det Insp Cunliffe added: “We are keeping an open mind about what happened to Brendan — we just don’t know what’s happened at the bottom of Chorley Old Road.
"He had property on him. It doesn’t appear to have been a robbery, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t an attempted robbery.
"It could have been a random attack. Someone could have taken offence at him and thumped him.”
He asked people to think back to the early hours of Friday morning and whether they saw Mr McKelvey or someone matching his description walking or maybe waiting at a bus shelter or near a phone kiosk.
Anyone with information about the incident or Mr McKelvey's route before he was attacked can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.