A BRUTAL attack which left a Chard mum in need of life-saving surgery was ‘attempted murder’, according to sources close to the family.

Police are still hunting a man seen running from the scene of the attack, near Chard reservoir, at around 4pm on August 4.

Now two sources close to the family, who both wish to remain anonymous, have said they do not believe the public is aware of how serious the incident was - and branded the case ‘attempted murder’.

The dog walker, a Chard woman in her mid 40s, was left with serious head injuries after the incident.

And one source said: “We don’t feel that the public are properly aware of the severity of the situation and the fact there is an assailant still at large.

“(The victim) needed a craniotomy, which had she not had, she would have lost her life.

“She was an hour away from death.

“At all times she had a police officer with her, and had she lost her life this would be a murder enquiry.”

Sources said the family is growing frustrated as police initially described the attack as an incident in which the woman was injured, later escalating to a nasty assault.

One source said: “We are of the opinion that this is more than a serious assault.

“The individual was clearly waiting for her. He hit her from behind with a blow to the back of her head with a blunt object. It was a massive force used with evil intent.

“He knocked her clean off her feet. He then hit her on the side of her head with the object.

“(The victim) managed to scream very loudly. They would have been aware that there were other dog walkers in the field over at that time.

“She turned over and saw a hooded person running away.”

A hooded person was also seen leaving the scene, running towards the Chaffcombe area, by a local angler, from whose description an e-fit was released by police.

After the female was discovered, she was rushed to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.

There, her family was told it would be an hour before she could receive surgery. After they protested, she was transferred to Southmead Hospital in Bristol for the emergency craniotomy, which involved doctors removing part of her skull to access a bleed on the brain.

One of the sources added: “This individual is still at large. We need help catching them.

“We have lived in this town all our lives and we have never known anything like this.

“It was a brutal, brutal attack. She had a fractured skull and broke bones in both her hands from the fall.

“I think we would all be beside ourselves if this person was to attack someone else.

“We are simply making sure that this person is behind bars, or wherever they need to be.”

Fortunately, the Chard mum is now home from hospital. While she remains fragile and is in the early days of her treatment, it is expected she will make a full recovery from her injuries.

The hooded man seen by the angler is still being hunted by police in relation to the attack.

He is described as a white, 6ft tall, 20-year-old male, of medium build with a protruding stomach.

His face was round, very red, and he had blonde hair with a side fringe.

He was wearing a black hoodie and black trousers.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting crime reference number 5217178432.

In response to the sources' statements, a police spokesman said: "Police have referred to the severity of the injuries suffered by the victim in this case from the start, describing her injuries as ‘potentially life-threatening’ and her initial condition as ‘critical’.

"We have kept the family informed as the investigation progressed and released further information to the public as operationally appropriate.

"We continue to appeal for anyone with information about this devastating attack on a woman walking her dog to come forward."