World

Woman kickboxer knocks out sex attacker

A sex attacker in UK picked the wrong target when his victim turned out to be a kickboxer who throttled him until he passed out.

Mark Willis, 39, repeatedly punched a 25-year-old woman who was walking home around 2am in Cheltenham last August, reported The Daily Mail.

He then pushed her into a garden, jumped on top of her and told her: "Be quiet and do as I tell you and you won't get hurt."

But his victim, who had been kickboxing for two years, fought back, Gloucester Crown Court heard on Wednesday.

"I swore at him. He hit me again in the face. He was grabbing at my clothing," she said, adding that she tried to apply an armlock but Willis wriggled free and punched her in the face.

"My legs were free, so I lifted my left leg to his shoulder and around the back of his neck. I crossed my right leg over and squeezed together as hard as I could," she said.

"He seemed to struggle for air - which was the point. His head was locked down.

"He lifted his right hand and 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. Then I felt his body go limp."

The woman, who was not named, flipped him off, rolled over and ran off.

ARREST

She said she later heard him run away and the sound of a car starting. Willis's DNA was found in the crotch of the woman's shorts.

He was arrested and admitted to actual bodily harm but denied sexual assault. The jury convicted Willis of the latter charge on Wednesday.

He will be sentenced on a 
later date, reported The Metro.

Judge Jamie Tabor commended the woman and asked for her to be rewarded, reported local newspaper the Gloucester Citizen.

He said: "I am going to ask the High Sheriff to pay her a reward of £500 (S$1,040) because I think she has to be singled out in some modest way by the court.

"It is a tiny token of the court's appreciation of what she has done to bring about the apprehension of Willis. It is just a mark of the court's gratitude."

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