Tuesday 12 November 2019

'Next thing these hands came around me' - victim of sex attacker at Luas stop tells harrowing tale on Late Late

Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

A woman who fought off a random attacker on her way to work has spoken out in light of the recent horrific murders in Ireland.

Ruth Maxwell (46) was walking to the Luas stop in May 2016 when a man grabbed her from behind and held a knife to her neck. 

"It was just a regular Monday morning, I was getting up for work, the sun was shining, I put my work clothes on, my makeup was on," she told Ryan Tubridy on RTE's The Late Late show last night.

"I was walking down the lane way and I had my headphones in, listening to music and the last song I remember was David Bowie 'Absolute Beginners'. 

"I entered into a lane way and looked behind me and next thing these hands came around me from behind. They were really gentle, it wasn't like a frenzied hand around me, it was so gentle that I was taken aback."

Ruth's attacker tried to hold a cloth to her mouth to stifle her screams, but she continued to push his hand away with her elbow. It was only when she realised he had a knife to her neck that she knew she had to move quickly.

Ruth Maxwell. Pic: courtesy rte
Ruth Maxwell. Pic: courtesy rte

"There was this split moment where I was like "this is not happening, it's not happening to me, not here, not now". It took a second and then I went "no way".

"So when the knife came down to my throat, I had no choice but to take my hand out, I grabbed the blade of the knife and squeezed it and pulled it right down and brought my head down with it. 

"And then I started to scream, and the scream was like some sort of primal scream that came out of me. I shocked myself, it was a sound I'd never heard before."

Ruth watched her attacker run off and she continued down the dirt road to seek help. At first, cars and people passed her by despite the projectile blood coming from her hand, her tendons severely severed.

After being taken to hospital by two men that stopped their cars to help, detectives later told Ruth that cable ties and duct tape were found at the scene where she fled. Two weeks later, her attacker was found.

"When they arrested him for attacking me, they took a DNA sample and there were already two DNA samples in the database that were registered as unknown males. 

"When they put his DNA in, it was a hit for those two cases. They would have had very violent assaults and sexual assault."

The trial went on for three weeks spread out from January to March, before the man was charged in court last Thursday.

He was charged with 22 and a half years in prison with the possibility of 4 years suspended if he integrated with probation and psychological services, which he refused.

Ruth explained that she wanted to share her story in the hopes it could help women in a similar situation to her. 

"Not every woman that has gone through something like I have will waive their anonymity and speak out. If I could even appeal to one woman who has been assaulted in some way and she's too embarrassed about it, just pick up the phone. 

"People will listen, don’t be afraid. "

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