A Northern Ireland woman says her dog rescued her from being raped.
The mother-of-three was just a couple of minutes away from her mother’s house in Randalstown when she felt a hand go over her mouth and a man trying to pull down her pants, the Daily Mirror reported.
“I just can't get my head round what has happened,” the woman told Belfast Live. “I have no doubt as to what his intentions were, he was definitely out to rape me.
“I had sent a text to my other half just before 8.30pm on Tuesday evening to say I was leaving mum's and literally two minutes after I left the house a hand went over my mouth from behind and pulled me into the dark.
“I hadn't seen or heard a thing, he came out of nowhere.
“He had his hand on my mouth and he pulled my head back by my hair with such force that I have lost patches of hair and have lumps on my head.
“I thought I was going to die but all I could think of was my three children.”
The woman’s screams for help were muffled by the suspect’s hand. That’s when her Staffordshire Bull Terrier Lola sprung into action.
“He still had his hand on my mouth and even though I tried to shout for help it was so muffled no one could hear,” the woman explained. “He used his other hand to try and pull down my trousers and then he said, ‘Your dog can watch.’
“He had a foreign accent but he was too strong and I was so terrified I couldn't get turned round to see him.
“I had let go of the lead and all off a sudden Lola was growling and growling and then she sank her teeth in his arm.
“Lola had a really good grip of him in her jaw and he started to struggle to try and get her off.
“As he was trying to get Lola off his arm he had to let me go and as soon as he got free he ran off.
“I was in shock and I didn't even think about taking a look at him or seeing where he had gone.”
The would-be victim called her significant other and the couple notified police.
“We only live about 200 yards from where he attacked me,” the woman added. “I never thought anything like that would happen to me. I'm still too terrified to leave the house and can't sleep since it happened.
“I wish I had been able to catch a glimpse of him but I was too terrified to look. All I know is that he had a foreign accent.”
The woman said her partner has helped her cope with the traumatic experience. She is now warning others to be on the lookout for the suspect.
“My partner has been such a fantastic support,” she said. “I just want to warn others and perhaps there is someone out there who knows this man and has seen him with nasty bite marks on his arm. If they do they should report him to the police straightaway.”
“I am so thankful I had Lola with me,” the woman added. “She is a two-year-old Staffie and she is just so gentle normally.
“She is such a placid dog at home but I can't even bare to think what would have happened if she hadn't been with me.
“Her instinct to protect kicked in and if it wasn't for her I have no doubt what would have happened, she is our hero.”