A young mother was ambushed and pinned to the ground by a teenage sex attacker as her two-year-old son played nearby in a country park.
Aaron Graham, 18, has been detained in a mental hospital after he assaulted the woman at knifepoint at the Stalybridge Country park in Greater Manchester.
The woman has now been awarded £1,000 from public funds by a judge at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, for the way she protected her child throughout the harrowing ordeal.
Aaron Graham, 18, has been detained in a mental hospital after he assaulted the woman at knifepoint at the Stalybridge Country park in Greater Manchester (pictured)
The court heard how the woman was targeted at random on August 22 last year, but remained calm and talked Graham out of raping her as her son played in a nearby stream.
Graham, who was 17 at the time of the attack, eventually jumped to his feet and ran off, and was later arrested after spending the night in a barn.
The woman, who is in her mid 20s, broke down at the scene before grabbing her son and running to anglers fishing nearby.
She later told police: ‘When I go out now I leave with my partner or one of my friends. My imagination tends to go into overdrive and I develop anxiety.’
Judge John Potter ordered the woman to received money from public funds as he ordered Graham to be detained in a mental hospital.
As the victim watched from the public gallery at at Minshull Street Crown Court the judge told her: ‘I recall in particular your entirely selfless act in protecting your child at all costs during the attack you were forced to endure.
‘I take the rare step of commending you publicly for these courageous, brave and truly exceptional acts. As a small token and acknowledgement I shall order £1,000 to be paid to you from the public purse which may in some very small way help you to continue on your difficult and long road to further recovery.
‘Your bravery, both at the scene and giving evidence, were truly humbling and I hope the words I’ve just uttered allow you some support from this terrible ordeal.’
Aaron Graham denied three charges of sexual assault, possession of a bladed article and attempted rape but was convicted following a trial at Minshull Street Crown Court
The woman had noticed Graham jog past her as she took photographs of her son, but the teenager then hid in bushes further up the pathway armed with a knife.
The court heard he emerged from the undergrowth and attacked her from behind, pushing her to the ground.
In his ruling Judge Potter told Graham: ‘You subjected your victim to a terrifying and dreadful ordeal.
‘You said to her: “Do as I say and you won’t get hurt”.
‘She asked you not to do anything in front of her son.
‘Throughout the incident you remained armed with a knife and the victim thought mainly of the need to remain calm and above all else protect her child who had stopped splashing and was watching your attack on his mother.
‘With incredible bravery and fortitude the victim kept talking to you, trying to delay your actions and asking you to stop given her son was present and observing what was going on.
‘At one point you said to the child: “Don’t look at this keep playing”.
‘You started to panic and become frustrated. You then seemed to imply that what you wanted was taking too long and you suddenly jumped up.
‘This allowed the victim to escape from you, you approached her and said: “Sorry about that yeah” and ran off.
‘This was an extremely serious attack upon a vulnerable young woman that involved the use of a weapon, a child witnessed the attack on his mother.
‘The attack was sexually motivated and had a degree of pre-planning by you. You brought a knife to the scene.
‘Were it not for the courageous acts of your victim I’m in no doubt your attack would have resulted in her being raped at knifepoint in front of her child.’
The court heard Graham had a ‘preoccupation with violence, fire, knives and guns’.
He has learning difficulties including autism and suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
He denied three charges of sexual assault, possession of a bladed article and attempted rape but was convicted following a trial.