A WOMAN who was beaten unconscious by a teenager who attacked her as she went for an early morning run has confronted him in court.

Brave Cathryn Walmsley insisted on reading her victim statement herself as the 17-year-old boy listened with his head bowed in the dock.

After the teenager was sentenced to four years in custody Mrs Walmsley said: “I needed to face him and him to be more afraid of me than I was of him.”

The attacker cannot be named after Judge Mark Savill refused an application by the Bury Times to lift reporting restrictions.

The court heard how 49-year-old mum Mrs Walmsley, had decided to go for an early morning run on June 1, using a training app on her phone.

She set off at 5.45am, using one earpiece from her phone to tell her when to walk and when to run.

As she approached a Lower Nuttall Road, a narrow, wooded lane at the bottom of Nuttall Lane, Ramsbottom, which leads to a park, she became aware that someone was behind her.

“The footsteps didn’t concern her. She was looking at the clouds and enjoying the scenery around her,” said Hayley Bennett, prosecuting.

As she passed a house the app told her to start running, and the person behind her followed suit.

The court heard that, even when she felt a tap on her shoulder, she was not afraid.

“She assumed it would be a friend or someone who wanted to speak to her,” said Miss Bennett.

Instead, the 17-year-old youth who had been following her launched a vicious attack, knocking her to the ground and pounding her head with his fists, leaving her unconscious.

“She recalls it being as if the defendant wanted to kill her. She thought she was going to die,” said Miss Bennett.

The attack is thought to have lasted for several minutes, leaving Mrs Walmsley with a serious head wound which needed 23 stitches in hospital as well as a bruised and swollen jaw.

Mrs Walmsley managed to stagger back to the house she had passed, her tee shirt covered in blood and the family living there called for an ambulance and rang her husband, Craig.

“At first she only stated she had fallen and then the attack came back to her,” said Miss Bennett.

Police quickly launched an investigation, releasing photographs taken from CCTV from the nearby house in a bid to catch the attacker, whose white trainers were covered in blood.

After the teenager washed his footwear, his mother questioned him and he confessed what he had done. The same day he went to the police station with his father to hand himself in.

The horrific impact of his crime was outlined by Mrs Walmsley, who bravely read out a victim impact statement in court.

The boy sat with his head down in the dock as Mrs Walmsley told how she has now changed completely from the strong, confident person she was before the assault.

She revealed that she now does not like going into her home on her own, has to face into a room when she goes out and her catering business has suffered as she finds it hard to concentrate.

She also wakes every morning with headaches and suffers from vertigo.

“I am really grateful I have not suffered more serious injuries,” said Mrs Walmsley.

“It could have been worse. It could have been worse if it happened to one of my girls.

“I’m strong but I wish it hadn’t happened. I don’t hate him but I don’t like what he did to me. I still want to know why. I need to seek closure.”

Mrs Walmsley spared a thought for the teenager’s family.

“I feel sad for them as there is every chance they brought him up properly,” she said.

“It still annoys me and frustrates me that I have no answer as to why this happened. I am a totally different person now. He [the defendant] needs to understand what he did and the suffering he has caused me.”

The teenager pleaded guilty to intentionally causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Walmsley.

Robert Elias, defending, stressed that the teenager, who has never offended before, comes from a good family who were too “mortified” to come into the courtroom for the sentencing.

The court heard that the teenager had not slept for 24 hours before he attacked Mrs Walmsley and had been out with youths older than himself drinking and taking cocaine.

“There is no real answer as to why he did this [attacked Mrs Walmsley]. He wonders if his drug was spiked with something even worse than cocaine,” said Mr Elias.

“He is horrified at what he did and regrets it intensely.”

Describing the attack as “ferocious” Judge Savill said he accepted it was an isolated event.

He said the reason for the assault was “mystifying” he paid tribute to Mrs Walmsley and her determination to speak in court.

“No one can fail to have been moved and impressed,” he said.

But he told the teenager that people should be able to feel safe outside their homes.

“Members of the public must feel able to go out and carry out these sort of activities without fear,” said Judge Savill.

“It was a ferocious and savage physical assault on a vulnerable individual. You can only imagine what was going through her mind.”

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Walmsley, who did not see her attack at the time he was beating her, said she was satisfied with the length of the sentence.

She said: “He needs to pay for what he has done but ultimately I don’t think, giving him 10 years or whatever would solve anything, but I need him out of my life for the time being so I can recover.”

However, she added that, in future, she would like to sit down and discuss with the teenager what he did to her.