December 2016

Brave woman waives anonymity to speak out about Sheffield sex attacker

A heroic young woman who fought off the sexual predator that dragged her into bushes and attempted to attack her has waived her anonymity to speak about her ordeal.

In an interview, the woman spoke about the moment Johnathon Holmes followed her before grabbing her and throwing her over a hedge in November last year.

The 21-year-old used keys to beat Holmes, 35, around the face, leaving him with severe bruising. Images of his injuries were later released by police.

She said of the attack: “I had to fight back to survive.” 

The victim was walking home from work in the early hours of November 1 last year when she was stalked for more than a mile by Holmes, who was heavily drunk.

She said she should have realised he was following her, but only did so when it was too late.

“It was just my instinct to turn around and stand my ground, so I punched him in the stomach and he ran at me and just picked me up and threw me over the hedge,” she said.

“He was a massive guy. He was just using his weight and sort of smothering me.” Before attacking her, Holmes told her: “You’re going to enjoy this”

But she fought back and used her keys to stab him in the face.

“When he started giving up I knelt over him with my keys to his throat. “I just cried for so long. It was just such a relief that they caught him.”

The woman 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.

Holmes was later jailed for four-and-a-half years.