A Hawthorn Hawks fan who was repeatedly punched by a stranger on grand final day and then put in a choke hold until he passed out, says he is still scared to leave home.
Police are hunting the vicious thug, who left 40-year-old salesman Paul unconscious on a North Melbourne Street.
Paul was walking home along Queensberry Street after the game, when a man walked from a laneway and confronted him, punching his head and stomach with martial arts moves.
“I thought he was trying to kill me,” Paul said.
“He's immediately put his hands up and come at me, like it's a fight, it's on.”
Two women thought to be the thug's friends watched on.
“Please stop Patrick, and she kept saying that,” Paul said.
“He didn't stop until I was unconscious, and left me on the ground and just walked away.”
A witness who was too scared to intervene took a photo of the offender and his friends, which she texted to Paul.
When Paul showed the photo to his wife, she passed out in shock.
The horrific attack has also caused ongoing problems for Paul, who is scared to leave his home.
“I certainly have issues just being out in public, walking past people... I work in a job where I talk to the public every day and it's the first thing that crosses my mind now, that's what's this person's motivation.”
Paul was recovering from a neck fusion for arthritis when the incident occurred, but his attacker ignored his pleas to stop and he is now back on painkillers
“It seemed to encourage him to go harder. And when I told him I’d had surgery on my neck, he just came at me, like, it was savage. And that's really difficult moving forward to deal with.”