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Sexual assault victim wins award for fighting back

A Sheffield woman who fought off the man who tried to rape her has been given a bravery award and been commended by police “on behalf of every woman” in her city.


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The unnamed 21-year-old was stalked for a mile through Sheffield by Jonathon Holmes before he pushed her into bushes and tried to rape her, reported

The woman said Holmes told her, “you are going to enjoy this” before she used her house keys to cut his face and bit down on his tongue as he forced it into her mouth. “You won’t do that to a woman again,” she told him.

“You displayed an astonishing level of bravery during this investigation, your actions undoubtedly deterred the offender from continuing his assault and your detailed recollection of such a traumatic event, led to the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of a very dangerous criminal,” South Yorkshire Police Superintendent Scott Green told the woman. “As a husband, as the father of a daughter and on behalf of every woman in this city, I commend you.

“On behalf of South Yorkshire Police we recognise your bravery, selflessness and truly outstanding courage in helping make this city a safer place for every woman in it.”

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CCTV showed 35-year-old Holmes lurking behind walls and watching lone women after a night out drinking in Sheffield in November. When the victim realised she was being followed after she finished work, she crossed the road repeatedly, tried to contact her partner and held her house keys in her hand to protect herself.

She told Sheffield Crown Court, “I believed without a doubt this man was going to rape me.”

Holmes has been jailed for four-and-a-half years for the horrific attack.

In August 2014 a female kickboxer knocked out a man when he attacked her as she walked home through Cheltenham. Mark Willis repeatedly punched his victim before pushing her over a wall into a garden and jumping on top of her. But the woman turned the tables on him; using her martial arts training, she managed to throttle him with a scissor-grip using her legs so forcibly that he passed out.

She was praised by Judge Hart at Gloucester Crown Court, who gave her a £500 reward for her bravery.

“[Willis] bit off slightly more than he could chew with this young lady,” the judge said. “Not everyone could do what she did and not everyone could even sensibly try to do what she did. But I have no doubt whatever that if she had not done what she did she would have suffered a considerably graver ordeal than she did — and the defendant would be facing a more serious charge than the one you have convicted him of.

“She deserves everyone’s commendation for the way she has dealt with this and she certainly gets the highest commendation from me.”

Not all women are experts in martial arts unfortunately. But clearly there’s something to be said for taking self-defence classes — or simply having the courage to fight back.

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