A brave woman fought off a 'dangerous' Northumberland sex attacker who dragged her to the ground in terrifying attack

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A brave woman fought off a "dangerous" sex attacker who wanted to rape her during a terrifying ordeal described as "every woman's nightmare".

The woman had been walking in Morpeth, Northumberland, when she heard footsteps behind her and was grabbed around the neck by Anthony Patterson, who dragged her to the ground.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the victim "punched and kicked and screamed" until the 47-year-old stranger ran off.

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In an impact statement, which the victim read out herself in court, she said she suffered sleepless nights after the attack and added: "Every time I closed my eyes I would see his face."

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.
The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

She said: "I just assume everybody wants to attack me and everybody wants to hurt me.

"He has made me feel like anyone could do it.

"I never expected anyone to ever do that."

She added: "I am just so pleased it was me he attacked, someone who could defend themselves, not a child who would have been raped and left there on their own.

"I was able to fight him off, I know a child couldn't have."

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Patterson, of Wilkinson Park, Harbottle, Morpeth, was caught by police in a Morrison's soon after the attack and pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit a sexual offence and common assault.

Judge Julie Clemitson said Patterson confessed to a probation officer and a psychiatrist that his intention was "to have sex with her" and added: "The intention is to rape".

Patterson, who has had long term psychiatric care since he committed two separate offences of indecent assault in the early 90s, including one on a child, has now been given a hospital order without limit of time and been ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.

Judge Clemitson told him: "You dragged her to the ground and lay on top of her, despite her struggles.

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"You only gave up because she fought you off and said she was calling the police.

"What you did, and what you were trying to do, was every woman's nightmare.

"If a woman had frozen rather than fought you off the outcome may have been very, very different."

The court heard Patterson will be held in a secure hospital and if he is released it will be with strict conditions.

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Judge Clemitson told him: "You are a dangerous man who poses a high risk of committing further serious sexual offences in future if you are left to roam free.

"It is not possible to say how long such a risk will remain."

Kate Barnes, defending, said Patterson is "ashamed and sorry for what he has done" and added: "He recognises absolutely that what he has done is wrong."

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