A HERO passerby stopped a rapist by punching him in the face and putting him in a chokehold after he dragged a woman into a bush.
Steven Lequesne, 23, attacked the victim after she had been on a night out in Southport, Merseyside.
The pair had been drinking in the Metropole Hotel on Portland Street before walking through Southport railway station after 1am, Liverpool Crown Court heard.
Robert Wyn Jones, prosecuting, said the victim was “clearly drunk”, “stumbling” and wasn’t wearing any shoes, reports the Liverpool Echo.
The Court was shown CCTV footage showing an “altercation” between Lequesne and the woman.
Mr Wyn Jones said: 'She runs off to the left and he pursues her.”
He explained that once he caught up she was fighting him off and was “pulled backwards to the ground”.
Further security video showed him attacking her in the bushes of a car park on Hoghton Street this summer.
Mr Wyn Jones also told of how Lequesne “examined her” using the light from his mobile phone.
He explained how she pushed him, but fell over and “lay on the ground, kicking out at him”.
Then a police car drove past and he “ducked down behind the bushes” before pinning her down and raped her.
'BRAVE MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC'
But soon passerby Christopher Fletcher heard the woman screaming “no”, and rushed to stop the “brutal and terrifying attack”.
Mr Wyn Jones said: 'Mr Fletcher takes hold of the defendant around the neck in a chokehold.'
He told of how the witness took Lequesne to the ground – before calling the police.
Recorder Matthew Corbett-Jones said: “It was only when a brave member of the public came to her rescue that her ordeal came to an end.
“Christopher Fletcher showed all the qualities of a brave, decent, upstanding member of the community in tackling you and summoning the police.'
“Your actions that night show to me you are the opportunistic and highly predatory individual that you clearly are.”
When cops arrived at the scene they found the victim “extremely distressed” nearby.
When interviewed Lequesne denied rape when interviewed, but was linked to the attack by DNA evidence. He yesterday pleaded guilty.
He has 15 previous convictions for 21 offences, including harassment in 2018 and two offences of outraging public decency in 2020.
'DEVOID OF EMOTION'
Now the victim is afraid to go outside and has had to go on Universal Credit after breaking down at work.
Mr Wyn Jones said: “She has a much more limited group of friends she says now because she finds socialising and trusting people very difficult.”
The judge told Lequesne: “It's plain to see you had seized this opportunity when she was alone and vulnerable to prey on her.
“This was a brutal and terrifying attack on a defenceless woman, in order for you to satisfy your desire for sexual gratification, which I have no doubt will cast a shadow across the rest of her life.”
He later added: “You have not shown any genuine regret for your actions and the author of the report makes clear the insight that you have into the harm you have caused is non-existent.
“You're regarded as being in effect devoid of emotion.”
Recorder Corbett-Jones jailed him for 10-and-a-half years, with an extended four-and-a-half years on licence and must also sign the Sex Offender Register for life.
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