Would-be sex attacker left battered and bruised after victim fights back

A sex attacker from Sheffield was left battered and bruised after his victim fought back - attacking him with her keys.

Johnathon Holmes, 35, dragged the woman into a hedge but she hit him in the face with her keys and managed to escape.

Holmes has now been jailed for four-and-a-half years for the horrific attack.

His victim told Sheffield Crown Court: "I believed without a doubt this man was going to rape me.

"My life would have been over - he might as well have killed me right there. I was so terrified but so angry."

Holmes was caught on CCTV in Sheffield city centre hiding behind walls and watching lone women after he had spent the afternoon and evening drinking in town.

Around midnight on November 1 he started following a 21-year-old woman as she made her way home from work, stalking her through the streets for more than a mile.

The woman who realised she was being followed crossed the street three times in an attempt to escape him.

As Holmes continued to pursue his victim she took out her mobile phone to call her partner and put her keys inside her hand to protect herself if needed.

Holmes then ran at her pushing her into bushes close to the Nuffield gym on Napier Street - close to where Sheffield Hallam University student Caroline Everest was last seen with a man in the early hours of November 22.

The woman managed to punch him twice in the stomach with the keys in her hand and started to scream.

Credit: Ross Parry

Two passers-by heard the woman's cries for help and Holmes jumped over some railing as he tried to escape, injuring himself in the process.

Rachael Harrison prosecuting said his victim said: "He won't do anything like this to a woman again."

Police caught up with Holmes at 1.30am and he later told officers he couldn't remember what happened due to drink.

Holmes who appeared via video link from prison, previously admitted sexual assault was jailed for four-and-a-half years on Tuesday (December 1).

Sentencing Holmes, Judge Sarah Wright praised the woman for fighting back as well as the help from passers-by.

She told Holmes she had "no doubt whatsoever" he had targeted the young woman deliberately.

She said his victim had "fought back with considerable bravery and courage".