A brave 15-year-old girl managed to fight off a sex attacker when he grabbed her from behind and molested her in an alleyway.

Nathan Smith, 32, crept up behind the schoolgirl and sexually assaulted her, before trying to pin her to a fence.

But the plucky youngster fought him off and ran home in Ewell, Surrey, at around 7pm on Satuday May 14 last year.

CCTV captured Smith leaving a nearby train station and scoping out the alleyway, walking up and down several times before returning to the platform.

Moments later, he was seen spotting the victim leave a train and walk towards the alleyway, when he then followed her and launched his attack.

During the struggle to get away, the man punched her to the head, but she was able to kick him off and run home.

Cops used facial recognition software to identify the suspect as Smith and he was put on wanted lists circulated to police forces around the country.

Smith, of Brockley, was arrested in London for shoplifting exactly a month later and was flagged as wanted in the police database.

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He denied the allegation and tried to manipulate officers in his interview with confusing contradictions of why he was in the alleyway.

Smith was jailed for six years at Guildford Crown Court on February 3, with a further four years to be served on license once he is released.

He was also put on the sex offender’s register for life after a jury found him guilty of sexual assault and common assault following a trial.

After the verdict the victim, who is now 16 and who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “Knowing that justice has been served will go a long way in starting the healing process.”

Detective Constable Nicola Dell, who investigated the case for Surrey Police, described Smith as a dangerous sexual predator.

She added: “This result is testament to the victim who showed astounding bravery from the moment she fought him off, right through to court.

“Her testimony left the jury in no doubt of Smith’s abhorrent, premeditated intentions that day.

“Not only has she been through a terrifying ordeal, but she has also been able to excel at her exams whilst supporting our investigation, and I know that I, along with the officers in my team, are incredibly proud of her achievements.

“We were committed from the outset of this investigation to bringing Smith to justice, using every tool available to us to identify and arrest him.

“He is clearly a dangerous sexual predator and should not be allowed to threaten the safety of women and girls who have every right to walk home without fear.”

Since the attack and the ordeal of being put through a trial, the girl was given the High Sheriff award for her bravery by the Crown Court judge.