'I believe he was going to kill me': The vital mobile phone snaps of Leeds sex offender Nathan Rawson taken by schoolgirl moments after she fought off knife attack

A teenager who helped bring sex offender Nathan Rawson to justice by taking his photograph after fighting him off told a court how she feared she would be killed or raped.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Thursday, 13th May 2021, 11:34 am

The girl took the snaps of Rawson as he confronted her moments after she managed to take a knife from him.

The images of him standing in the field on the cold winter morning were circulated by West Yorkshire Police as part of an appeal to catch the suspect.

Rawson was given an extended prison sentence of 13 years and eight months at Leeds Crown Court on Monday (May 10)

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These images of Nathan Rawson were taken by the 15-year-old girl who disarmed him after he forced her to go with him into bushes at knife-point. The snaps led to the arrest and conviction of the 25-year-old sex offender.

He pleaded guilty to kidnapping, unlawful wounding, possession of an offensive weapon and two counts of burglary.

The court heard how the girl showed outstanding courage to disarm the 25-year-old when he grabbed her and forced her to go into bushes with him at knife-point.

The youngster fought back, grabbed the knife and managed to take photos of him using her mobile phone as she fled to safety

The images led to his arrest after they were used in a police appeal to catch the attacker.

West Yorkshire Police custody image of Nathan Rawson taken after his arrested for abducting a 15-year-old girl at knife-point in Burmantofts.

Despite the bravery she showed, the victim, now aged 17, described the damaging impact the incident had on her life in the years since the February 2019 incident.

In a victim statement, read to the court on her behalf by prosecutor Julian Jones, she said: "It has been more than two years since this terrifying incident happened to me and I still remember it like it was yesterday

"It will be something that will always be with me.

"I lost my confidence and it still hasn't returned.

"I did not want to leave my house or talk to anyone and I felt like a part of me was dead.

"I would wake up in the middle of the night shaking or sweating.

"The incident was playing over and over in my head for six months.

"I isolated myself from the outset.

"I just wanted to be able to step outside and walk down the street without the dread that someone might hurt me.

"I have bottled things up around my family and friends.

"It is hard for them to understand what I was going through.

"As a result I have lost lots of friends and I have lost myself.

"I literally fought for my life that day.

"I still believe this man was either going to kill me or really hurt me sexually.

"It sends a shiver down my spine thinking about what could have happened to me if I had not fought back.

Detective Inspector Emma Wight, of Leeds District Safeguarding Unit, said: “Rawson put the 15-year-old victim through an absolutely terrifying ordeal when he abducted her.

“Despite being injured by the knife when she fought back and disarmed him, she still had the presence of mind to take pictures of him on her phone.

"Those images provided crucial evidence that led to Rawson being identified following a media appeal.

“He is clearly someone of a predatory nature who presents a real danger to women and girls and we hope the significant prison sentence he has received will provide some comfort to the victim and her family and also reassure the wider community.”