A WOMAN whose video footage of a vicious assault helped to put a man behind bars for 16 years has been given an award for bravery.

Rebecca March was in The Surtees pub, in Crook, when John Sloanes launched an unprovoked attack on a 36-year-old man in the street outside, punching and biting him while he laid on the floor unconscious.

The mother-of-one filmed footage of the assault on her phone, before ushering Sloanes away from the victim and calming him down.

However, he then began attacking a second victim – a 44-year-old man – who he kicked between the legs while he laid unconscious on the floor.

Thirty-year-old Rebecca grabbed Sloanes’ clothes and pulled him off his defenceless victim before leading him away.

As the attacker tried to mingle in with the surrounding crowd when police arrived, Rebecca discreetly guided officers to Sloanes, which led to his arrest.

The 31-year-old, of Front Street, Bishop Auckland, was subsequently charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

At Durham Crown Court in June last year He was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the attack, which happened in February last year, and for a previous incident in which he attacked a member of the public on Boxing Day 2016.

In recognition of her bravery and quick-thinking, Rebecca was presented with a Chief Constable’s Commendation at police headquarters.

Chief Constable Mike Barton said: “This was a brutal and unprovoked attack. There is no doubt that Rebecca’s calm and quick-thinking actions resulted in valuable video evidence being secured and prevented more serious injuries being sustained by the victims.

“It is extremely important that we recognise public-spirited people like Rebecca who put her own safety aside to help others. I am really proud of her and am thrilled to be presenting her with this commendation.”

Detective Constable John Forster, who investigated the case, nominated Rebecca for the commendation.

“I have no doubt that without Rebecca’s video footage, the case against Sloanes would not have been as strong,” he said.

“Her actions not only helped to secure his conviction, but helped his two victims escape further injury.”

He added: “What she did that evening was extremely brave – she thoroughly deserves this commendation.”

Rebecca, who lives in Crook, said: “It was just instinct – I felt I had to help. I couldn’t stand back and not do anything.”