A scaffolder was beaten over the head, stabbed repeatedly and left for dead by three masked thugs after being lured to Moor Park, Rickmansworth.

Steve Pantling, 57, said he expected to die after he was set upon by three young men armed with knives and a police-style baton in Park Close, at around 2.15pm on Friday.

The men, whose faces were covered with hoods and scarves, robbed him of his phone and car keys and left him slumped on the ground with blood pouring from stomach, arms and neck wounds as well as a 10-inch gash down the side of his face.

Mr Pantling, who is owner of Northwood Scaffolding and landlord of The Olde Northwood pub – formerly the Iron Bridge – in Pinner Road, Northwood Hills, was rushed to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington where he underwent emergency surgery and needed more than 40 stitches before he was released.

Police have said they are treating the attack as a targeted assault and not a random incident.

Describing the attack, Mr Pantling said: “I went to look at a job and three guys jumped out at me then stabbed and slashed me. I was lured up there. They took my mobile phone and car keys, they didn’t say anything to me they just demanded my phone.

“I thought I was going to die. They left me there to bleed to death.

“They were like jackals the way they picked me off. What could I do against three people who are all armed? They are just complete scum.”

He believes the attack may have been in revenge or as a warning after he reported a violent attack on a member of his staff to police several months ago.

He added: “This is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me, I have never spent so much as a night in hospital. I have always been fit and active.

“I can’t be sure but I’m afraid this has come about because I reported something to the police in good faith – one of my staff members was attacked in Pinner Road and I told the police what I saw.

“I feel like I have been set upon for doing the right thing.”

After the attack, Mr Pantling sought help from a neighbour but refused to go inside the house while they waited for police and paramedics because he didn’t want his blood to stain the stranger’s floors.

The neighbour, who identified himself as Colonel Tucker, said: “He knocked on our door and asked us to call the police. Two of his friends later arrived.

“We called the police and they came fairly quickly but the ambulance took 30 minutes or so. He had a cut down the side of his face and his throat was injured.”

Gary Sanderson, communications manager at East of England Ambulance Service said: “We were alerted to an assault at 2.17pm to an address in Rickmansworth and a male was taken to St Mary’s Paddington Hospital by land ambulance. The Herts Air Ambulance, a Watford ambulance and duty officer attended the scene.”

Following the attack police have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

PC Joanna Price, from the Local Crime Unit in Rickmansworth, said: “The victim was attending a property in the area for work-related reasons when the incident occurred. We have reason to believe this was a planned and targeted assault against this individual and not a random attack.

“I would like to appeal to anyone who was in the area of Batchworth Lane, London Road or White Hill Road in Rickmansworth between 1.30pm and 2.30pm on Friday to contact police with any information.

“I am particularly keen to hear from anyone who saw three men walking or running together or getting into a vehicle in this area around 2.10pm.

“The males are thought to have been wearing clothing suitable for the cold weather in particular scarves around their necks.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police non-emergency number 101 quoting C2/12/2708. Alternatively, to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.