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Gravesend man sentenced to eight years after strangling stranger in alleyway

PUBLISHED: 14:18 14 April 2014 | UPDATED: 14:57 14 April 2014

Aaron Payne was sentenced on April 14  to eight years imprisonment, with a further five to be served on licence.

Aaron Payne was sentenced on April 14 to eight years imprisonment, with a further five to be served on licence.

Archant

A man who followed a woman into an alleyway and tried to strangle her has been jailed for eight years.

Aaron Payne, of Fenners Marsh, pursued his victim along Freemans Road in Gravesend, into an alleyway leading to St Gregory’s Close at around 6.30pm on August 1 last year.

The woman, in her 20s, a complete stranger to Payne, was aware of her stalker at the time when he struck.

Payne then leapt on her and wrestled her to the ground before straddling her and throttling her.

The victim managed to fight back - after “pretending to lose consciousness” initially - and banged her hand against one of the fences lining the alleyway and alerted a resident.

Payne was chased by several members of the public, while the woman sought help.

Payne was identified through CCTV footage and arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm.

Following several court appearances, he pleaded guilty in January was sentenced last week at Maidstone Crown Court. He will serve a further five years on licence.

Investigating officer, Det Con 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.

“I’d like to pay tribute to her bravery and hope Payne’s sentence gives her the necessary closure to move on with her life.

Det Con Smith also added: “His senseless act of violence has landed him behind bars, which is where he undoubtedly belongs.”

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