A brave mum described how she fought off a knife-wielding paedophile in a supermarket car park as he tried to steal her car with her child still inside.
Natalie Grimes, 40, was confronted by Duncan Johnson who tried to slash her face in a horrendous bid to steal her car, while her seven-year-old daughter was in it.
The terrified youngster was sat just yards away in the car while her mum, who works as a carer, battled the drugged-up 41-year-old.
Today, the mum-of-four spoke exclusively to the ECHO about her chilling ordeal, describing the violent paedophile as "evil and disgusting."
Mrs Grimes added: "It's been the worst time of my life."
While Mrs Grimes was being attacked, her frightened but courageous young daughter, who recently turned eight, got out of the car and screamed at the paedophile to leave her mum alone.
The incident happened around 11.30am on Sunday, March 15, at the Asda store off Utting Avenue in Walton.
Johnson was chased by members of the public who heard the commotion and wrestled him to the ground in a citizen's arrest.
Johnson, a known sex offender, was handed a six year jail sentence for attempted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon, which could see him released in four years. This was described by Mrs Grimes as "nowhere near enough."
The key worker told the ECHO: "It was just before lockdown, and everybody was out panic buying.
"I'd put my little girl in the car and was putting my shopping in the boot before returning the trolley when he suddenly had me by my throat.
"He was strangling me.
"He was saying, "Give me the f***ing car with the baby in.
"The baby jumped out the car, and started shouting, "Get off my mum!"
"He brought a knife over my head, I saw it coming over my face, and tried to duck, so he slashed my coat instead of my face.
"He was definitely trying to hurt me.
"My daughter was screaming, and then he ran off over the grass verge, by which point, everyone came running over.
"Men from Asda went running after him.
"He had a plastic bag which contained the knife and the duct tape, he also dropped a bobble hat.
"He threw the knife on the grass and a passer-by collected it."
She added: "He'd ripped all my coat with the blade of the knife, so police took it away for forensics."
Johnson denied the shocking attack, which also involved him trying to steal her handbag and car keys as he warned the mum: "I will f***ing kill you."
It forced Mrs Grimes to have to go to an identity parade during which she pointed at him as the person responsible.
The Kirkby man has a catalogue of 30 convictions, which started when he was a child, racking up 128 separate criminal offences.
They include a six year jail sentence for causing or inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity and causing a child to watch a sexual act in a wooded area.
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He once caused children to watch indecent material on a computer.
His appalling record also features the storming of a 65-year-old man's home where he stabbed him in the neck with a knife to steal £1,600, which led to a nine year sentence.
Mrs Grimes, whose four children are aged between eight and 19, said the attack and the attempt to steal her car with her daughter in had left her mentally scarred.
She said she has barely left the house since it happened, and cannot face going out for shopping, which her husband now takes care of.
The mum, from Tuebrook, said: "My little girl is traumatised, she sleeps in the bed with us, and wants all the windows and doors locked.
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"Even if I'm doing the dishes, she's got to be behind me.
"I can't get him out of my head."
Mrs Grimes, who praised Merseyside Police for their handling of the case and support given to her, told how she was left stunned when reading the ECHO to learn of Johnson's jail sentence.
The details of his criminal past were an unexpected and added blow, she added.
The 40-year-old said: "Reading what he'd done before was horrendous.
"I felt like I'd been kicked back down again.
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"All I wanted to do was protect my daughter.
"Why was he out on licence after sexually abusing that girl?
"I think I've had a lucky escape, what if I hadn't handled the situation like that?
"I reacted instinctively.
"There was no way he was having my baby.
"What kind of man is he?
"Johnson should be put away for a very long time – six years, with the possibility he'll do four, is not enough.
"He's evil, disgusting.
"The sentence is a joke, the things he's put us through, the trauma my baby has suffered."
Mrs Grimes has not gone back to work as a carer since the incident, and says she is constantly looking over her shoulder.
Asked if she was proud of the way she handled the attack, she added: "I am.
"Some people might not have been strong enough to fight him off, but there was no way he was getting my child."
But Judge Louise Brandon praised the men for "bravely" pursuing and detaining him, as she jailed the "dangerous" menace.
Johnson, it has emerged, wants to record an official complaint against the members of the public who apprehended him, which is likely to enrage many.
The judge described Mrs Grimes actions as "incredibly brave."
Johnson, who eventually pleaded guilty, had been living his brother's garden in a tent, because the parents of the girl he abused had discovered his previous address, and it wasn't safe for him to live in the area.
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Johnson was jailed for six years, with an extended three years on licence.
It means he must serve at least four years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.
At the time of the incident, Merseyside Police said Johnson was arrested on suspicion of attempted child abduction but he was not subsequently charged with this offence.