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16 December 2011, 16:41
A 19 year old woman who fought off and disarmed a knife-wielding man who tried to rape her has today spoken about her ordeal.
She was attacked by postman Adrian Berry, who was today jailed for five-and-a-half years, as she looked after her horse alone in a field in Notts on 16 August.
The slightly built teen, who weighs just seven stone, was set upon by 18-stone Berry, 45, who was armed with a 10 inch knife and was disguised by a stocking over his head.
The woman said: "I heard someone shout to me so I turned around and saw him standing there. I thought it was a joke at first and was waiting for a film crew to jump out.
She said: "But I soon realised that this was no joke and I fell to the ground through sheer panic."
Berry, of Towson Field, East Leake, dragged the woman into a nearby barn, ignoring her desperate pleas to let her go.
She said: "I was screaming but we were so far from the road that no one could hear me. He told me to undo my trousers and made it very clear to me why he was there. I knew I had to act quickly and I had absolutely nothing to lose."
Berry pinned her to the ground and knelt on her ribs, making it very difficult for the woman to breathe. She managed to get hold of a metal leash, which she used to hit him over the head.
The woman then sat on some bales of hay and, with Berry stood upright in front of her, swung her legs up and wrapped them around her attacker?s neck.
She said: "I squeezed as tight as I could and managed to get the knife off him. I ran away, leaving him alone in the barn."
The terrified woman, who had suffered deep defence knife wounds to her hand, ran to the road and flagged down a local builder, who was driving past in a Ford 4x4.
He called the police and, while on the phone, the pair were stunned to see Berry drive up to them on his motorbike and stop just 20 yards away.
She said: "He stopped and looked at us for a while before driving off. I was absolutely terrified at the time but it allowed us to get his licence plate number and feed it back to police."
The police helicopter team was deployed to the scene and were soon on Berry's trail.
A search on a national database for the licence plate led police to Berry's home in East Leake.
Berry had gone to his home and put the clothes he had been wearing in the washing machine. He then fled on his motorbike but was arrested around half an hour after the attack when two police cars swooped in.
The woman added: "I was sat in a police car when I heard over the police radio that he had been caught, it was a huge relief that he had been arrested so quickly."
Police sniffer dogs at the scene soon located the knife and Berry's makeshift mask in a nearby hedgerow, which he had hidden before fleeing.
Officers carried out a search of Berry?s house and discovered a single knife was missing from a block of knives in the kitchen. They were a match to the weapon found by police.
Berry had just begun a new job as a postman when he carried out the attack.
He continued to deny a sexual motive to the attack since being arrested and claimed he was simply trying to rob her. It was only today (Friday 16 December) that he pleaded guilty to attempted rape and possession of an offensive weapon.
When handing out his sentence, the judge told Berry he would have a five year extended licence added to his jail term, which means he will face tight restrictions and stringent monitoring from the police and the Probabtion Service.
He was also told he would be on the Sex Offenders? register for life and he would never be able to work with young people.
The woman added: "The whole incident was completely surreal and it?s not properly sunk in. It has affected me and I'm sometimes afraid of going out alone.
"But I will not let him win. I faced him in court today and saw him jailed, which I hope will give me some closure and help me to put it all behind me."
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Walton said: "When Adrian Berry saw her alone in a field that day, I'm sure he thought she was vulnerable, easy prey. Little did he know that this young lady was about to put up the fight of her life.
"Victims of rape or sexual assault respond in vastly different ways and each person is different. Some are overcome by shock and are simply too distressed to fight back, while some somehow manage to act quickly and retaliate.
There is no right or wrong response to such a traumatic attack. In this case, the actions of a spirited young woman undoubtedly prevented a more severe attack."
DCI Walton added that Berry's victim is determined not to let the traumatic events of that day damage her future. He said: "The events of that afternoon undeniably still affect her every single day. But she is an incredibly strong person with a courageous character and I am certain she will not let the actions of this coward defeat her.
"The way she has handled such a disturbing experience is phenomenal and she has proven herself to be an incredibly brave and feisty young woman, she?s a true inspiration to us all."
There is a wide range of advice and support for victims of rape or sexual assault.
The Topaz Centre (Nottinghamshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre), can be reached by calling 0845 600 15 88 or by emailing email@example.com.
Alternatively call Nottingham Rape Crisis on 0115 9410440.