A TEENAGE girl is among four people who have been arrested after a man was left fighting for his life following an attack in a Bournemouth graveyard early on Monday evening.

The man - who has not been named but is believed to be in his 50s - was taken to Southampton General Hospital by the Dorset Air Ambulance with a serious head injury, which police described as ‘life-threatening’. It is not known if his next of kin have been informed.

Police believe the assault took place at around 5.20pm in or near a secluded area of the town centre churchyard of St Peters. The area is used as a cut-through by people walking from the bottom of Fir Vale and St Peter’s Road and can clearly be seen by commuters who use St Peter’s Path.

A large section of the churchyard, including the small entry gate, was cordoned off by police who kept a guard there all day.

Three men aged 23, 25 and 47 and a 17-year-old girl have been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent and are still assisting officers with enquiries.

Detective Inspector Steve May, of Bournemouth CID, said: “This incident happened at a busy time of the day and I would urge anyone who was in St Peter’s Road at the relevant time and saw or heard anything suspicious to please contact Dorset Police.

“I would also ask anyone who was travelling along this road and has dashcam fitted to please check their footage.

Rev Dr Ian Terry, the team rector said: “I paused near the church on Monday night because there were so many police cars around and I didn’t know what had happened until yesterday morning, when I happened to see the news on the TV.”

He said that Dorset Police "don’t have a protocol for when they find something happening on our property, they don’t tell us, they just turn up and deal with it.”

He also expressed sympathy for the victim and said he would be in the church’s thoughts and prayers.

Last night Dorset Police said they could not release the victim’s details or information about his injuries for operational reasons.

Anyone with information can contact police on 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or on 101.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.