A retired care worker is fighting for life in hospital after he was attacked by a gang of teenagers as he walked along a road with a young girl.

The 67-year-old man, who was walking with a relative under five, was near the Idara-e-Jafferiya mosque in Church Lane, Tooting, on bank holiday Monday about 9.50pm when the group approached him.

The man, who is Asian, lives locally and is a retired care worker who previously worked in a local home for the disabled, sustained a serious head injury during the attack.

The girl was unhurt.

Police said the gang - who were part of a larger group, which included girls and other youths on push bikes - were in their mid-teens and wore hooded tops.

The gang also attacked two other men minutes before, police believe.

Appealing for witnesses, Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane, from the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: “This is a sickening attack on an innocent man and we believe that the attackers also assaulted a man in his 70s and a man in his 40s only minutes before.

"We urge people who may have been attacked, or who may know who these youths are, to come forward and speak to officers.”

A spokesman at the mosque said: “This is a terrible attack on a very well respected member of the community.

"We appeal to anyone with information to come forward.”

Four boys aged between 12 and 14 have been arrested.

Police have yet to establish a motive.

Anyone with information should contact officers on 0208 721 4205 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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