Tragic Patrick Lyttle is fighting for his life after he was allegedly punched in the face by his brother during a night out in Sydney.
The Ballycastle man, 31, who had been backpacking around Australia, is in a critical condition in Sydney, after his head struck the pavement outside a nightspot in the early hours of Saturday morning local time.
The brothers’ devastated dad is keeping a bedside vigil as one son remains on life support while the other faces a further court appearance on Monday.
It’s understood some of the brothers’ four older sisters may travel to Australia in wake of the unfolding tragedy.
Doctors at St Vincent’s Hospital have already carried out emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his injured brain and doctors say the next 24 to 48 hours will be crucial in his battle for life.
While his brother fought for life, Barry Lyttle, 33, sobbed as he appeared via videolink at Parramatta Local Court charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm after allegedly throwing the punch that caused the critical injury.
He didn’t apply for bail, and it was formally refused with him due to face Central Local Court on Monday.
Pals of the brothers have been posting messages of support on Facebook.
One read: “Can’t believe the news. Keep up the fight Paddy Lyttle. We are all thinking of you. Barry Lyttle stay strong. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.”
Another added: “Can’t believe this. Heartbreaking. Keep fighting paddy and stay strong Barry Lyttle x.”
“Awful news! Fingers crossed for Paddy,” a friend posted.
Another post read: “This is heartbreaking.”
Barry and his father had travelled from Co Antrim to Sydney just days earlier to meet up with backpacker Patrick for a holiday of a lifetime.
Before their arrival Barry posted on Patrick’s Facebook: “Not be long now bro!! See ya soon. Safe trip the pair of ya!!”
The brothers, originally from Belfast but living in Ballycastle, had been at dinner with their father earlier in the evening before he left to return to his hotel as the brothers continued their night out.
Police say CCTV footage captured the siblings allegedly arguing outside Hugo’s Lounge at the popular nightclub spot of King’s Cross at around 3am on Saturday.
Bouncer Dion Miller, who administered First Aid to the injured brother, described the scene. “His brother screamed because he realised how bad it really was,” he said. “I think the blood was what really shook up his brother.
“By the time I turned around I saw one male slam to the ground pretty hard first,” according to Austalia’s Nine News.
“I was trying to calm him down, the whole situation was pretty full on.”
Supt Michael Fitzgerald of the New South Wales Police said: “This is caused from one punch.
“We have a father who is facing the reality of one son facing serious criminal charges and the other son fighting for his life.”
“This is a family tragedy”.
“The pain in their father’s eyes is indescribable,” he told the media.
Police have said alcohol was not an “aggravating factor” in the alleged assault.