Sheffield sex attack victim fears she could have been killed

Donna Vincent
Donna Vincent
0
Have your say

A woman who was sexually assaulted while she walked her dog fears she could have been murdered.

Donna Vincent, aged 45, from Handsworth, has waived her right to anonymity to talk about her ordeal now that her attacker has been sentenced after pleading guilty to sexual assault.

The 27-year-old, from Crookesmoor, who was initially charged with attempted rape, received an indefinite hospital order.

South Yorkshire Police said the attack rocked Donna's community 'to it's core'.

She was walking her dog, Ralph, in Handsworth last May when she was targeted by a man on a path close to some fields.

He attempted to knock Donna to the ground and there was a struggle, during which he hit her in her face and around her head, before he overpowered her.

Donna said she remembered him running towards her 'at full speed' before he struck.

She is believed to have lost consciousness and woke up to find her attacker dragging her by her jeans towards a hedgerow.

Donna's screams for help were heard by other dog walkers who ran to her aid and the attacker fled.

Donna said: “I was making my way home when I came to a fork in the road. I saw a woman walking with two collie dogs on the right-hand path and thought, I can’t take Ralph down there because he’s only little. So I looked at the left-hand path and saw a man. I couldn’t see that he had a dog with him so that’s the path I chose.

“Having lived in the area my whole life, I know a lot of people that live in the community. I didn’t recognise him and he was looking down at his phone when all of a sudden he ran at me full speed.

“He went to knock me to the floor, and I didn’t go down. He then started to hit me on my head and face, so we had a bit of a fight before I got knocked to the ground.

“When I came round, I could see this man in front of me. We were in the field now and he was dragging me by my jeans to a nearby hedge.

“I was screaming and shouting out for help, when I heard a woman, Sue, who was the woman who was walking her collie dogs, yell back that she was coming. Her shouting was enough to scare this man off and he ran away."

She said she had been desperate for her attacker to be caught.

“I was so keen that this man was caught that, even though it was a very traumatic experience, I tried really hard to focus on what happened because I wanted to stop this person and get him off the streets," she said.

“Another thing in my mind was that those fields were predominantly walked on by women with their dogs, something you should be able to do anywhere, so this added to my determination that this man needed to be stopped and I had to try and help the police however I could.

"This was a sexually motivated attack but I do actually think I would have been murdered.

“I think that spot was key, if I’d been unconscious in that hedge you could have walked past and not known I was there. If Sue hadn’t been there and shouted, had it been night-time, it would have been the worst possible scenario.”