May 2021

Brave girl, 15, disarmed sex offender after being forced into bushes at knifepoint

A brave 15-year-old schoolgirl disarmed a dangerous sex offender then took his photo after being forced into bushes at knifepoint, a court heard.

Nathan Rawson, 25, was brought to justice with the help of the pictures taken by his victim, who said she feared she would be ‘killed or sexually hurt’ before she fought him off.

The courageous teen took snaps of Rawson as he confronted her moments after she managed to take a knife from him in the attempted attack in Leeds, West Yorks.

The images of him standing in a field on a cold winter morning were circulated by West Yorkshire Police as part of an appeal and ultimately led to his arrest.

Rawson was given an extended prison sentence of 13 years and eight months at Leeds Crown Court on Monday.

He pleaded guilty to kidnapping, unlawful wounding, committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence, possession of an offensive weapon and two counts of burglary.

The court heard how the girl showed “outstanding courage” to disarm the attacker when he grabbed her and forced her to go into bushes with him at knifepoint.

The teen fought back, grabbed the knife and managed to take photos of him using her mobile phone as she fled to safety.

The images led to his arrest after they were used in a police appeal to catch the attacker.

The victim, now aged 17, described the damaging impact the incident had on her life since the incident in February 2019.

In a victim statement, read to the court on her behalf by prosecutor Julian Jones, she said: “It has been more than two years since this terrifying incident happened to me and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

“It will be something that will always be with me. I lost my confidence and it still hasn’t returned.

“I did not want to leave my house or talk to anyone and I felt like a part of me was dead.

“I would wake up in the middle of the night shaking or sweating. The incident was playing over and over in my head for six months.

“I isolated myself from the outset. I just wanted to be able to step outside and walk down the street without the dread that someone might hurt me.

“I have bottled things up around my family and friends. It is hard for them to understand what I was going through.

“As a result I have lost lots of friends and I have lost myself. I literally fought for my life that day.

“I still believe this man was either going to kill me or really hurt me sexually.

“It sends a shiver down my spine thinking about what could have happened to me if I had not fought back.”

Five years ago, in February 2016, Rawson stalked a young woman through the streets before grabbing hold of her as she screamed for help. He was sentenced to 21 months