A vulnerable man with mental health difficulties told a jury he feared he would be killed when a gang of teenagers hurled bricks at him in a mob attack.

Matthew Ellis underwent emergency brain surgery after he was struck on the head with one of the missiles.

He also suffered a fractured arm when he was hit with his own metal detector which one of his attackers wielded like a club, Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday.

Mr Ellis, then 39, told police, in a video interview shown to the court, that “it really, really hurt” when he was hit on the forehead by one of the bricks.

He told the interviewing officer: “It was a shock, being stood there and having a load of bricks thrown at me.

“I was aware if they carried on they could quite easily have killed me. It was quite a scary thing. It didn’t seem to bother them. They were still intent on throwing quite a lot of bricks at me.”

Four Frizinghall teenagers are on trial for wounding with intent.

They are Amar Shah, 18, of Lynthorne Road; Majid Ali, 19, of Aireville Road; and two 16-year-old youths, who cannot be identified for legal reasons. They all plead not guilty.

The attack happened on Easter Monday, April 25, last year, shortly after 4pm.

Prosecutor John Topham said the victim was a man with some vulnerability who had psychiatric problems. At the time of the attack he was making his way home after using his metal detector in Shipley.

He was walking on a path between Frizinghall Community Centre and an enclosed football pitch. The defendants were allegedly among a group at the side of the path.

Mr Ellis was insulted. When he abused them back the group took exception and began throwing stones and broken pieces of paving slab at him. One of the missiles hit him on the forehead above the eye, causing a very serious injury. Another injured his arm and he fell.

As he did so, one of the youths, who Mr Topham said was identified as Shah, picked up his metal detector and hit him three times on the arm, “using it like a club.”

Mr Topham said the complainant suffered a Y-shaped wound to his head which penetrated his skin, into the membrane surrounding the brain, and he later needed an operation to open up his skull.

Mr Topham said it was a joint attack, which was witnessed by eight-year-old twins.

Mr Ellis told police he had taken a short cut and felt intimidated walking past the youths.

The trial continues.