Female kickboxer knocks out sex attacker who pounces as she walks home
A woman kickboxer who used her martial arts skills to throttle a sex attacker has been praised by a judge who gave her a £500 reward for her bravery.
Mark Willis, 39, “bit off more than he could chew” when he targeted the woman as she walked home through Cheltenham, a judge said.
He repeatedly punched his victim before pushing her over a wall into a front garden and then jumping on top of her, Gloucester Crown Court was told.
But the woman, who has been kickboxing for two years and has also taken a self-defence course, turned the tables on Willis in the attack at 2am on August 31.
She told the court how she first tried to break his arm with a hold she had been taught – and then got him in a scissor-grip with her legs, throttling him so forcibly that he passed out.
The woman, who cannot be named, told the jury that when Willis first got on top of her he told her: “Be quiet and do as I tell you and you won’t get hurt.”
She added: “I swore at him. I think I said something like ‘go f*** yourself.’ He hit me again in the face. He was grabbing at my clothing.”
She said she tried to apply an armlock, which would have broken his arm or caused him a lot of pain.
“The intention is to send the elbow in the wrong direction and cause extreme pain or a break,” the woman said. “I was not able to do that. I think he figured out what I was trying to do because he managed to wriggle free and he hit me again repeatedly in the face.
“I was stunned for a moment. Again I could feel him grabbing between my legs and pulling at my clothes. My legs were still free so I lifted my left leg up onto his shoulder and around the back of his neck. I crossed my right leg over and squeezed together as hard as I could.
“He seemed to struggle for air – which was the point! His head was locked down. He lifted his right hand and literally pounded as hard as he could on the side of my face.
“I closed my eyes and held it for as long as I could hoping he would pass out in a few seconds. Then I felt his body go limp. I thought he had lost consciousness or run out of air. I flipped him off, rolled over and crawled through the bushes to the door of the house. I could hear footsteps as he ran away and then a car starting.”
The jury heard that Willis’s DNA from his hands was found in the crotch of the woman’s shorts. Willis, of Churchdown, Gloucestershire, admitted assaulting the woman causing actual bodily harm but denied sexual assault. He claimed he had confronted the woman because he saw her take a photo of him on her mobile phone when he was urinating in a driveway.
But the jury convicted him of sexual assault and Judge William Hart remanded him in custody for a psychiatric report to be prepared. He will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.
The judge told the jury it was a “very worrying case” as Willis was jailed in 2011 for an attack on a young couple when he punched a man to the ground and then dragged his girlfriend away towards his van.
Judge Hart said it was “remarkable” in the current case that the woman fought back so effectively.
“He 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.
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