Bravery award for sex attack victim who helped make Sheffield safer for women

The battered face of sex attacker Johnathon Holmes, who has been jailed for four-and-half years
The battered face of sex attacker Johnathon Holmes, who has been jailed for four-and-half years

A brave woman who fought off a sex attacker has been honoured by South Yorkshire Police for helping to make Sheffield ‘a safer place for every woman in it’.

The woman, who was 21 at the time, bit down on her attacker’s tongue during the ‘terrifying’ assault and used her house keys to cut his face.

She shouted ‘you won’t do that to a woman again’ as her attacker tried to flee.

Johnathan Holmes trailed his victim for a mile before pushing her into bushes and leaving her convinced she was going to be raped.

His victim, who said she was ‘so terrified but so angry’, managed to get her keys to her attacker’s neck and throat as she found the strength to fight back.

Holmes, aged 35, of Valentine Road, Sheffield Lane Top, was jailed for four-and-a-half years for the attack in Cemetery Road, Sharrow.

He was caught on CCTV hiding behind walls and watching lone women after spending the day drinking.

When sentencing Holmes, who pleaded guilty to sexual assault, Judge Sarah Wright said his victim had ‘fought back with considerable bravery and courage.’

Now South Yorkshire police chiefs have also recognised the woman’s courage by presenting her with a bravery award.

Presenting the award, Superintendent Scott Green, said: “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.

“As a husband, as the father of a daughter and 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.”

Describing the woman’s actions, Supt Green added: The horrifying assault culminated in the woman being forced into a nearby hedge whilst the male tried to get on top of her, groping her and telling her ‘you’re going to enjoy this’.

“She continued to fight in the genuine belief that he intended to rape her and described feeling that she was ‘fighting for her life’.

“As a victim of a terrifying crime, her bravery throughout this ordeal is astonishing.”