A 56-YEAR-OLD woman who was sexually assaulted in Darwen has spoken of her traumatic ordeal.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said that she had been ‘terrified’ since the attack on Saturday morning at 2am and has been unable to be alone in her home for fear of the attacker returning to where she lives.

She had been out for drinks with a friend on Friday evening and shared a taxi home with an unknown man who said he was going in the same direction. He then followed her home, pinned her down and attacked her.

Before going home, the victim and her friend visited Big Bites takeaway in Bridge Streett.

The woman’s friend asked her if she would share a taxi with a man who was going the same way. She said: “Because it was my friend that asked me, I assumed that she knew him.

“I wouldn’t normally share the journey home with anyone, and definitely not someone I that I didn’t know, but because my friend had asked me, I thought it was safe and didn’t think too much of it.”

“Before we’d reached my house, he grabbed me and started trying to kiss me.

“I said ‘Get off me, I’m old enough to be your mother!’”

In a state of shock and worried that the offender would learn of her address, the woman decided to exit the vehicle before she had reached her destination and walk the rest of the way.

“He stayed in the taxi so I thought that I would just go home and that would be the end of it.

“I was about 100 yards away from my home and I heard a rustling in the bushes.

“I turned around and saw him running towards me really fast. It was terrifying.

“I had high heels on so when he pushed me I just tumbled over.

“I have a really active job and am fit and athletic but I was flat on my back and just couldn’t fight him off.”

The woman screamed but it failed to alert her neighbours.

Eventually, a dog began to bark agressively, startling her attacker who then jumped to his feet, apologised and fled the scene.

“I just want women to be aware that there’s a man like this out there in Darwen. I just want him caught so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Police are appealing for witnesses and are urging anyone who saw or can identify the man to call 101 or contact CID on 01254 353562.