Woman receives bravery award for fighting off sex attacker with her keys

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Anna Pollitt

A woman who fought off a sex attacker with her keys has been given an award for “astonishing” bravery. 

The 21-year-old victim was walking home from work in Sheffield city centre in November last year when Jonathon Holmes dragged her into a hedge and told the terrified woman "you're going to enjoy this," before trying to rape her.

She managed to use her housekeys to cut his face, as well as punch him in the stomach twice and bite his tongue, before shouting "you won't do that to a woman again."

Holmes had stalked the woman for a mile before the attack. Suspecting she was being followed, she had put her keys in her hand as she was attempting to phone her partner.

When the woman retaliated and two people passing by heard the scuffle, Holmes escaped and sustained further injuries.

The 21-year-old did this to attacker Jonathon Holmes when he tried to rape her on her way home from work

The 21-year-old used her keys to defend herself against Jonathon Holmes when he tried to rape her on her way home from work

Image: South Yorkshire Police

Officers tracked Holmes down and after pleading guilty to sexual assault, he is now serving a four-and-a-half year jail sentence for the attack.

South Yorkshire Police superintendent Scott Green said: “The horrifying assault culminated in the woman being forced into a nearby hedge whilst the male tried to get on top of her, groping her and telling her ‘you’re going to enjoy this’.”

Honouring the woman with the award, Police Superintendent Green told her: “You displayed an astonishing level of bravery during this investigation, your actions undoubtedly deterred the offender from continuing his assault and your detailed recollection of such a traumatic event, led to the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of a very dangerous criminal.

“As a husband, as the father of a daughter and on behalf of every woman in this city, I commend you.

“On behalf of South Yorkshire Police we recognise your bravery, selflessness and truly outstanding courage in helping make this city a safer place for every woman in it.”

The woman 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.” 


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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant. The baby is borrowed.

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