Brave woman rewarded £500 for using kickboxing skills to fight back against sex predator

Posted by
Harriet Hall

An (awesome) woman who used her martial arts skills to choke a man who was attacking her, has been rewarded £500 by a judge for her bravery.

The woman (who cannot be named) was walking home at 2am on 31st of August to her home in Cheltenham when Mark Willis, 39, pounced on her.

Gloucester Crown Court heard how Willis jumped on the woman and repeatedly punched her, then pushed her into a front garden and jumped on top of her, telling her to be quiet “and do as I tell you and you won’t get hurt.”

But he picked the wrong woman to mess with.  The victim, who has practiced kickboxing for two years and is experienced in self-defence, told the jury how she fought back and swore at the man: “I said something like ‘go fuck yourself’. He hit me again in the face, he was grabbing at my clothing.” She preceded to get her attacker in an arm lock, then a scissor lock with her legs until he passed out.

"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.”

The attacker escaped but was tracked-down after his DNA was traced from the woman’s shorts.

Willis pleaded guilty in court to assaulting the woman but denied charges of sexual assault. A jury convicted him of sexual assault and he will be sentenced at a later date.

After suffering such a terrifying ordeal and fighting back so bravely, the judge asserted that the woman “deserved everyone’s commendation for the way she has dealt with this” and be paid a reward of £500 as a “tiny token of the court's appreciation of what she has done to bring about the apprehension of Mr Willis.”

“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.” He told the jury.

On leaving court the woman described her relief over Willis’ conviction, saying: “I was stunned by the judge giving me a reward - I didn't do it for any kind of recognition. My motivation was just survival at the time but I appreciate it - it is very flattering and very humbling."

In his closing comments, Judge William Hart said it was clear Willis “bit off more than he could chew” when he targeted the victim. Well, we’ll say.