Sun. Dec 5th, 2021

Completely interrupts the rapist's attack by beating him and putting him in suffocation

Steven Lequesne was detained on the spot by a brave passer-by (Photos: Liverpool Echo / Google Maps)

A ‘dangerous’ rapist was caught when a brave passerby broke up his ‘brutal and intimidating’ attack and held on to him until police arrived.

Christopher Fletcher grabbed Steven Lequesne, 23, in a head lock and beat him after hearing his victim shout ‘no’ as he forced himself on her in some bushes in Southport, Merseyside.

Shocking CCTV footage of the attack showed Lequesne ‘appeared behind the bushes’ just moments before a police car drove by.

Lequesne ‘swapped’ for the woman after meeting her one night out, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Robert Wyn Jones said the victim had been drinking at the Metropole Hotel in Portland Street earlier that night.

The couple spent some time there together before footage picked them up walking through Southport train station shortly after 1 p.m.

Wyn Jones said: ‘She is clearly drunk. She has no shoes on and she stumbles. ‘

The clip shows a ‘quarrel’ between them before the woman turned around and tried to run away.

But Lequesne ‘pursued her’ and dragged her to the floor as she tried to ‘fight him’ before attacking her in some hedges bordering a car park.

Lequesne subjected woman to ‘brutal and intimidating’ attack (Photo: Liverpool Echo)

The prosecutor said Lequesne ‘ducked down behind the bushes’ to hide from a passing police car moments before Mr Fletcher walked by and heard his victim shout ‘no’.

Wyn Jones described what follows on footage, saying: ‘Mr. Fletcher grabs the defendant by the neck in a suffocation. ‘

He said the go-a-go hero then tackled Lequesne to the ground and kept him there until police arrived to arrest him. The victim was found near ‘extreme distress’.

Lequesne denied rape when he was interviewed, but was linked to the attack using DNA evidence and later pleaded guilty.

He was given an extended sentence of 10 and a half years with another four and a half years on license.

Wyn Jones said the victim is now afraid to go outside and ‘constantly looking over his shoulder’.

She tried to go back to work but broke down and has not gone back since, so it is now on Universal Credit, he added.

Wyn Jones said: ‘She has a much more limited group of friends, she says now, because she finds it very difficult to socialize and trust people.’

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - 08 JANUARY: A general perception of Liverpool Crown Court, where former Crewe Alexandria FC coach Barry Bennell will stand trial over a series of allegations of child sex on 8 January 2018 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

Lequesne was jailed for more than 10 years at Liverpool Crown Court (Image: Getty Images)

Lequesne, also known as Stephen Lequesne, has 15 previous convictions for 21 offenses, including harassment in 2018 and two offenses of outrageous public decency in 2020.

The judge, recorder Matthew Corbett-Jones, told him: ‘It is clear to see that you had seized this opportunity when she was alone and vulnerable to her.

‘This was a brutal and intimidating attack on a defenseless woman, in order for you to satisfy your desire for sexual gratification, which I will no doubt cast a shadow over for the rest of her life.’

He added: ‘It was only when a brave member of the public came to her rescue that her trials ended.

‘Christopher Fletcher showed all the qualities as a brave, decent, upright member of society by tackling you and calling the police.

‘Your actions that night show me that you are the opportunistic and very predator that you clearly are.’

Lequesne was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

Recorder Corbett-Jones said he would praise Mr Fletcher’s courageous behavior and ‘pay tribute to him’.

He added that he would put Mr Fletcher forward for formal recognition.

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