Mark Willis reportedly hid behind a bush before pouncing on a 25-year-old woman who was walking home alone with her headphones on during the early hours of Aug. 31, 2014. He punched her in the face, but was apparently unaware his victim was a kickboxer.
The woman fought back when he tried to remove her clothes — she told him to “go f--- himself,” grabbed his arms and held him in a headlock until he went limp, Western Daily Press reported. She then called for help in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England.
On Sept. 7, Willis was convicted of sexual assault. He had already pleaded guilty to a charge of causing actual bodily harm, The Guardian reported. Although he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, the judge may decide to add another four years to his sentence. Willis will also have to register as a sex offender.
“I’m extremely pleased that this traumatic ordeal is finally over and that I can move forward with life. I wish to thank the police and the officer in the case for their hard work in identifying and apprehending the offender and the support I’ve received,” the victim said. She added that she hopes other victims of sexual assault will come forward.
Judge William Hart commended the woman for her reaction. "Without you resisting as you did, we might not have identified Mark Willis as the offender and he may still be posing a risk to the public,” he said.
Willis has a previous conviction for kidnapping a woman. “There’s little doubt in anybody’s mind that without her martial arts skills the attack could have been far worse,” said investigator Faye Satchwell-Bennett.