RAF MILDENHALL, England — Two British men suspected in an attack against two special operations airmen earlier this year were able to avoid assault charges due to insufficient witness identification, authorities said.

The suspects — a 20-year-old Mildenhall man and a 44-year-old Lakenheath man — remain under investigation despite the lack of a witness to link them with the beating that left one of the airmen hospitalized for more than a month with severe head injuries, according to Suffolk Constabulary Chief Inspector Stuart Sedgwick.

“This was a very serious incident given the injuries sustained and officers did everything in their power to secure evidence relating to it,” Sedgwick wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes. “There were no admissions made relating to the assaults and three witnesses failed to identify the actual assailants during formal identification procedures.”

Instead of charges, both Britons were issued fixed-penalty notices for $160 for disorderly conduct in connection with the late night Jan. 28 incident. The Suffolk Constabulary has not identified the men.

Sedgwick was responding to a Stars and Stripes query asking why none of the four suspects originally detained by the Suffolk Constabulary faced any charges in the incident, which occurred on a Mildenhall street outside of a popular bar.

Two other initial suspects — ages 22 and 23 from Lakenheath — were released without any fixed-penalty notice or charges.

The beating victims, airmen with the 352nd Special Operations Group, declined to be interviewed by Stars and Stripes for this story. The Air Force would not publicly release the victims’ identities.

One airman received superficial wounds and was treated and released from a local hospital shortly after the incident. The second spent more than a month at the intensive care unit of Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Witnesses were able to determine that the two men who were issued fixed-penalty notices were involved in disorderly conduct in the run-up to the altercation, but not the conflict itself.

“Enquiries continued regarding the actual assaults but to date we do not have enough evidence to charge anyone,” Sedgwick wrote in an e-mail.

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