Man jailed for eight years after trying to strangle woman in Gravesend alleyway

News Shopper: Aaron Payne appeared at Maidstone Crown Court Aaron Payne appeared at Maidstone Crown Court

A man who tried to strangle a woman in a "senseless act of violence" in a Gravesend alleyway has been jailed for eight years today (April 14).

Aaron Payne, 26, formerly of Fenners Marsh, followed his victim, a woman in her 20s, along Freemans Road and into an alleyway leading to St Gregory’s Close on August 1 last year.

His victim, a complete stranger to Payne, later told police she survived the attack through thinking of her kids.

She was aware she was being stalked and tried to slow her pace to see if the man would pass.

Instead, Payne leapt on her, wrestling her to the ground before straddling her and throttling her.

The victim tried to pretend she had lost consciousness but the assault continued.

She began to fight back, banging her hand against one of the fences lining the alleyway and alerting a nearby resident, who came out and shouted at Payne to release her.

Payne ran away, chased by several members of the public, while the woman staggered to her feet and sought help from others.

She later told police she felt as though her head was going to explode and was sure she was going to die, but the thought of her children spurred her on to fight back.

Payne was identified through CCTV footage and arrested on suspicion of GBH.

Following several court appearances, he pleaded guilty at the end of January and was sentenced today at Maidstone Crown Court to eight years in prison, with a further five to be served on licence.

Investigating officer, DC Brian Smith of Kent Police, said: "This was an entirely unprovoked, random attack on an innocent woman that must have felt like a horror story come to life.

"One moment she was walking along the street and the next she was being throttled by a complete stranger in a deserted alleyway.

"She has been left utterly traumatised by what happened but showed a huge amount of courage on the night in question when she refused to give up and managed to attract help.

"His senseless act of violence has landed him behind bars, which is where he undoubtedly belongs."

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