A brave woman fought off a dangerous sexual predator in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, recently – using her KICKBOXING skills to knock the man out. Mark Willis attacked the woman late at night, but found himself quickly out of his depth as the tables turned. And quickly!
The unnamed woman told the jury in the case that when Willis got on top of her he hissed at her, “Be quiet and do as I tell you and you won’t get hurt.”
She went on “I swore at him. I think I said something like ‘go f*** yourself’… Then he hit me in the face. He was grabbing at my clothing.”
She then told the court how she attempted to apply ‘an armlock’ which was intended to either break Willis”s arm or at the very least ’cause him a lot of pain’. “The intention is to send the elbow in the wrong direction and cause extreme pain or a break,” she said. “I think he figured out what I was trying to do because he managed to wriggle free and he hit me again repeatedly in the face. I was stunned for a moment.”
“Again I could feel him grabbing between my legs and pulling at my clothes. My legs were still free so I lifted my left leg up onto his shoulder and around the back of his neck. I crossed my right leg over and squeezed together as hard as I could. He seemed to struggle for air – which was the point!”
“His head was locked down. He lifted his right hand and literally pounded as hard as he could on the side of my face. I closed my eyes and held it for as long as I could hoping he would pass out in a few seconds. Then I felt his body go limp. I thought he had lost consciousness or run out of air. I flipped him off, rolled over and crawled through the bushes to the door of the house. I could hear footsteps as he ran away and then a car starting.”
The jury heard that Willis’ DNA from his hands was found on her shorts.
Mark Willis, from nearby Gloucester, admitted to the court that he had assaulted the woman and caused actual bodily harm but fully denied the charge of sexual assault. But the jury convicted him of it anyway and now he faces a lengthy prison sentence.
The judge had said that this was a ‘very worrying case’ – mostly because Willis had been jailed in 2011 for a distressingly similar attack on a couple where he punched the man to the ground and proceeded to drag the woman away in order to assault her.
Judge Hart commended the woman in this case, saying: “He bit off slightly more than he could chew with this young lady. Not everyone could do what she did and not everyone could even sensibly try to do what she did.”
“But I have no doubt whatever that if she had not done what she did she would have suffered a considerably graver ordeal than she did – and the defendant would be facing a more serious charge than the one you have convicted him of.”
“She deserves everyone’s commendation for the way she has dealt with this and she certainly gets the highest commendation from me. I am going to ask the High Sheriff to pay her a reward of £500 because I think she has to be singled out in some modest way by the court. Five hundred pounds is a tiny token of the court’s appreciation of what she has done to bring about the apprehension of Mr Willis. It is just a mark of the court’s gratitude.”
After the hearing, the woman said “I feel so relieved now it’ sall over and that he has been convicted. I was stunned by the judge giving me a reward – I didn’t do it for any kind of recognition or reward because my motivation was just survival at the time but I appreciate it – it is very flattering and very humbling.”
The woman also said that while she is naturally a pretty shy and meek person, she’s refused to let the incident dent her confidence or affect her life.
“I’m not scared of anyone, especially since taking up mixed martial arts and taking a ju-jitsu self defence course. It has made me a better person and a lot fitter. I’m glad I was able to bring this man to justice – he is dangerous and I would not like him to do the same to other women.”
Good on you!