A YOUNG woman has bravely spoken about the trauma of being assaulted by a convicted rapist.

Curtis Pizzey, 30, formerly of Basildon, grabbed the 20-year-old from behind as she was walking to work.

Fortunately, she was able to fight him off before fleeing and calling police who quickly arrested him nearby.

His victim, who will remain anonymous, said: “I was walking to work and noticed him in front of me. I couldn’t help but think there was something strange about him.”

The student said Pizzey stopped at a small dirt track before he headed back towards her.

She continued: “I said hello and he said ‘hi’ back and stared straight at me before walking past.

“I got a gut feeling something was wrong, but didn’t even have a chance to turn around – he grabbed me from behind like a bear hug around my shoulders. He was growling something in my ear and because I had my earphones in, I didn’t hear what it was or whether he was just making noise.

“I managed to pull my arms back. I hit him in the chest and turned round and started screaming.”

The victim fled the area and called her boyfriend who lived five minutes away before calling the police.

Pizzey, now of Sutton Road, Catfield, Norfolk, was released from prison in 2016 after serving part of a six-year sentence for raping a teenager near Basildon’s Festival Leisure Park in 2012.

His latest attack happened in Norfolk on August 22 – and he was jailed the next day.

It wasn’t until Pizzey was jailed – for 18 weeks after admitting one count of assault by beating – that his latest victim learned who he was.

She added: “When I saw the old stories about what he had done in Basildon, I didn’t really know how to react.

“I always feared it was sexually motivated because it was so physical. If he wanted to mug me, he could have just grabbed my backpack.”

In 2012, Pizzey waited for his 18-year-old victim to walk past in the opposite direction before grabbing her from behind. He then forced the girl to walk to a nearby wooded area where he carried out the horrific attack before fleeing.

His latest victim added: “I feel very fortunate I was able to do what I did. I’ve been thinking over and over about the what ifs and the fact I was able to get away is what’s helping me get through it.”