Sex attacker left battered and bruised by woman he dragged into bushes

CourtsBy Shuki Byrne
Battered and bruised: Holmes following his arrest (South Yorkshire Police)
Battered and bruised: Holmes following his arrest (South Yorkshire Police)

A would-be rapist was left battered and bruised after his victim fought back against him as he tried to drag her into some bushes.

Johnathon Holmes (35) had followed the young female victim for some time before launching an horrendous assault, a court in Sheffield heard.

He seized his opportunity when there was nobody around and attempted to drag her into a hedge, telling her, "You're going to enjoy this" while forcing his tongue into her mouth. 

However, he didn't count on his victim fighting back in the way she did. 

The 21-year-old woman said she realised she was being followed and crossed the street on a number of occasions to evade her tracker. Eventually, after a mile or so, he attacked her and attempted to pull her into a bush. 

Sheffield Crown Court heard the woman punched him several times in the stomach, bit his tongue and used her keys as a weapon to swipe at his neck. 

She told the court: "I believed without a doubt this man was going to rape me.

"My life would have been over - he might as well have killed me right there. I was so terrified but so angry."

She was saved after yelling out for help. Two members of the public arrived at the scene and Homles fled over a set of railings, injuring himself in the process. 

He was caught on CCTV hiding behind walls in Sheffield city centre in wait for a victim to target. He had spent the day drinking in the town and claimed afterwards he had no recollection of the attack. 

Rachel Harrison, prosecuting, said Holmes' intended victim had said after escaping: “He won’t do anything like this to a woman again.”

Judge Sarah Wright commended the victim, and said she had "fought back with considerable bravery and courage".

She told Holmes:"No one listening could fail to have been moved by her words. It is clear to me that what you did had a devastating effect on her life.

"She is not able to continue her life as before."

"What happened to me was my worst nightmare," his victim said afterwards. "The whole thing replayed in my head for days.

"Now going anywhere after dark is really stressful for me.

"I often think how much worse it could gave been. Even though I know he is locked up, sometimes I'm scared he will come after me again."

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