A MAN needed surgery on his serious facial injuries after he and his girlfriend were brutally attacked by two men while on a night out.

Lewis Ridley and Ellie Nicholson, both 20, were on the riverside walk near Ouse Bridge on a work night out before Christmas when two men approached them, shouting abuse and punching Ellie to the ground, knocking her unconscious.

As Lewis tried to protect his girlfriend, he was set upon, and has had to undergo a lengthy and complicated operation to reposition his cheekbone. Ellie suffered a broken hand and severe pain to her head as a result of the attack.

Police, who said the incident was not captured on CCTV, said it was a “nasty, unprovoked attack, completely unacceptable in a civilised society”.

Ellie, of Stockton Lane, York, said: “I came round and Lewis was covered in blood. I was crying uncontrollably for about two hours. I had never seen so much blood, it was horrible.

“We are coming to terms with what has happened but it is something which is never going to leave our minds. It has had such an impact on our life. I have never been scared to go out in York, but it seems to be so much more common and I don’t understand why the police are not putting up more CCTV.”

The couple, who work at CPP, have only just been able to return to work more than two weeks after the attack. Mr Ridley may need further operations to his face.

He said of the attack: “I was more concerned about Ellie. I tried to get in the way and take the brunt of it. It’s not right, people picking fights with a girl.”

City of York Council said it did not have a dedicated CCTV camera covering the whole length of the footpath. David Carter, head of network management, said: “The council is always seeking to improve the city’s CCTV system coverage.

“However, this is subject to the limited resources available. There are some 78 cameras that cover the city centre and they have been positioned to provide the greatest coverage, so that they can track incidents as far as is possible.”

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “This was a nasty, unprovoked assault on two people enjoying a night out in the city.

“Unfortunately, the incident was not captured on CCTV and the description of the suspects has not led to their identification.”

Police ask anyone who knows anything about the attack, in the early hours of Sunday, December 16, to phone 101.