14 March, 2017

Self-defence in the News - No. 100

Female jogger fights off brutal sex attacker

13 March 2017

A Seattle jogger was left bloodied, bruised - and triumphant - after using self-defence tactics to fend off a bathroom attacker.

Kelly Herron scratched, kicked and screamed at alleged assailant Gary Steiner, 40, at a Golden Gardens Park restroom on Sunday afternoon, according to the Daily Mail.

The 36-year-old was training for a marathon and had stopped to use the bathroom when she felt Steiner, a registered sex offender, sneak up behind her. At that point, according to police, he assaulted her.

Herron said she began to fight back, yelling out "not today m***** f*****". Eventually she managed to escape from Steiner's grasp and trapped the homeless man in the restroom until police arrived.

The jogger shared a photo on Instagram of injuries from her "biggest running nightmare" but credited her safety to a self-defence class she took three weeks earlier.

She said, "My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact."

"I fought for my life screaming, clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip - never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived.

"Thankfully I just took a self-defence class offered at my work and utilised all of it."

She added to Kiro 7, "I'm really grateful I survived. I was screaming at him... being loud and not afraid. I mean you are afraid, but you're letting him know 'you are not taking me down today. You are not going to win this fight'.

"That was the only thing that was motivating me ... I cannot be raped by this guy in this place."

Steiner was taken by police shortly after Herron escaped and was helped by a witness who heard her screams and called officials.

She told police "she felt like she was going to be raped" and Steiner was charged on Wednesday with attempted second-degree rape and second-degree assault with sexual motivation, according to The Seattle Times.

Police said Steiner confessed that while he was waiting in the bathroom, two other women entered the space but he didn't attack them.

But when Herron was drying her hands, he worked up the nerve to approach her, knock her down and repeatedly punch her in the face in an attempted rape, according to police.

The charging documents state that Steiner told police that he wanted them to kill them and an officer wrote, "The defendant represents a severe danger to the community.

"His predatory attack on a female in the middle of the day represents a brazen willingness to assault without concern for getting caught."

The paper reported that the man was convicted in Arizona for sexually assaulting several women in 1999, indecent exposure in 2008 and convicted of criminal mischief with a deadly weapon in Clark County, Washington, in 2015.

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