A heartbroken mum is trying to solve the riddle of how her son was left critically injured in the street with a fractured skull.
Ashley Boulby was found on the floor in London Road at the junction with Wolseley Road in the early hours of the morning after a night out with friends - but how he sustained the injuries remains a complete mystery.
The 27-year-old was rushed to hospital and needed a life-saving operation to remove a blood clot from the back of his brain. He also had two broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung.
His mum Kath has joined South Yorkshire Police in appealing for the public’s help in trying to solve the mystery of how he was injured.
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The 56-year-old administrator, of Colley Crescent, Ecclesfield, said: “When the police knocked on my door I feared the worst - I thought they were going to say he had been found dead. I have asked him what happened and all he says is he doesn’t know because it just went black.
“We are not sure if he was attacked or if he fell over and neither do the police. They said they are looking at all possibilities. His injuries were very serious, I think he could have died had he not gone to hospital.
“We are trying to put together a diary of the hours before he was found and are desperate to find out what happened. Please come forward if you have any details.”
The former factory worker, of Norfolk Park, had been on a night out with three or four friends in the city centre and left to walk home in the early hours of Tuesday, December 8.
He was found in London Road by a member of public at 1.50am and was taken by ambulance to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
After surgery he was put into a medically induced coma for six days and remains in a serious but stable condition on the critical care ward.
Kath added: “His friends say that he wasn’t particularly drunk when he left and was capable of walking home.
“He is still very confused but we are hopeful he will make a full recovery.”
Detectives have released a CCTV image of Ashley shortly before he was found as they try to piece together what happened. No arrests have been made.
Pc Mary Glossop said: “I hope that someone sees our photographs and recalls seeing Ashley. His family are desperate to understand what happened to him so I’d urge anyone with information to get in touch. No matter how small the detail, it could help us piece together Ashley’s movements that night.
“We know from our enquiries so far that he was last seen at around 1.05am so if you were in the area at the time, or saw anything suspicious, please give us a call.”
Call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.