A brave young woman has waived her anonymity to speak about her ordeal after she fought off a sexual predator who dragged her into bushes and attempted to attack her.
In an interview, Lucy Kucharik has waived her anonymity to talk about the moment Johnathon Holmes followed her before grabbing her and throwing her over a hedge.
The incident happened in November last year.
The 21-year-old used keys to beat Holmes, aged 35, around the face, leaving him with severe bruising.
Images of his injuries were later released by police officers.
She has now said of the attack: “I had to fight back to survive.”
Miss Kucharik was walking home from work in the early hours of November 1 last year.
But she was stalked for more than a mile by Holmes, who was heavily drunk at the time.
She said she should have realised he was following her.
But she added that she only did realise when it was too late.
She said: “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.
“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 Miss Kucharik fought back and used her keys to stab him in the face.
She told ITV: “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.”
Holmes was later jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Miss Kucharik was interviewed after speaking at an event aimed at supporting crime victims in Rotherham.
Police commissioner Dr Alan Billings said: “Victims of crime in South Yorkshire can be assured that they will be listened to and helped if they come forward.”