Hero stopped rapist’s sick attack by getting him in chokehold and punching face

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A hero interrupted a rapist's brutal attack by putting him in a chokehold and punching him in the face.

Steven Lequesne, 23, "preyed" on a lone vulnerable woman who had been on a night out in Southport.

Harrowing CCTV footage showed the victim kicking Lequesne and trying to fight him off as he raped her in bushes.

But when passer-by Christopher Fletcher heard the woman screaming "no", a judge said he rushed to stop the "brutal and terrifying attack".

Recorder Matthew Corbett-Jones said: "It was only when a brave member of the public came to her rescue that her ordeal came to an end.

"Christopher Fletcher showed all the qualities of a brave, decent, upstanding member of the community in tackling you and summoning the police.

"Your actions that night show to me you are the opportunistic and highly predatory individual that you clearly are."

Liverpool Crown Court heard Lequesne, of no fixed address but formerly of Tuebrook, raped his victim near Napthens Solicitors, on Hoghton Street, this summer.

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

The woman and Lequesne spent some time there together after the pub shut, before walking through Southport train station after 1am.

Mr Wyn Jones said: "She is clearly drunk. She doesn't have any shoes on and she is stumbling."

He played a CCTV clip in court that showed an "altercation" between them and her trying to get away.

He said the witness took Lequesne to the ground, before he called police and held him until officers arrived.

Police found the victim "extremely distressed" nearby.

Lequesne denied rape when interviewed, but was linked to the attack by DNA evidence and today admitted the charge.

Nicola Daley, defending, said he had mental health issues and urged the court not to pass an extended jail sentence.

She said: "Perhaps he received some summary justice when he was punched to the face and admitted to hospital after the offence.

By pleading guilty and not prolonging these matters, that shows his remorse."

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Recorder Corbett-Jones said Lequesne followed the victim, before he used his torch to "leer" at her, then raped her.

Referring to a pre-sentence report, he told Lequesne: "You have not shown any genuine regret for your actions and the author of the report makes clear the insight that you have into the harm you have caused is non-existent.

"You're regarded as being in effect devoid of emotion."

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