In Britain a teenager who attacked a car with a ‘zombie knife’ in broad daylight has been jailed after judges decreed that his original suspended sentence was ‘unduly lenient.’
18-year-old Joshua Gardner was caught on camera striking a car with a ten-inch long knife in rush-hour traffic in Croydon in south London last May.
Today the Court of Appeal said knife crime was a growing problem and sent him to jail for three-and-a-half years.
At the time of the offence, Gardner was under supervision for a previous conviction of attempted robbery using a knife.
Sir Brian Leveson, Mr Justice Nicol and Sir Brian Keith were shown dashcam footage of the incident, which was widely shared online at the time. Sir Brian said in his ruling:
‘One of the challenges facing society is the commonplace carrying and use of knives.
‘That can never be an excuse for carrying a weapon of the type which this offender carried on that day.
‘Purported self-defence all too frequently becomes an offence and results in fatal injuries, particularly to teenage boys, almost on a daily basis. ‘Public concern is obvious and inevitable.
It thus falls to the court to demonstrate that such behaviour must result in substantial and effective custodial sentences. ‘In our judgment, taking into account all the circumstances, the sentence on this offender should have been four years in custody.
‘We reduce that sentence to three and a half years in custody at a young offender’s institution to reflect the days that he spent on tag and his unpaid work.’
Gardner’s case was referred to the Court of Appeal after Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC said the sentence was ‘unduly lenient’.
Mr Buckland said Gardner attacked the vehicle ‘in a seriously violent and sustained way’ using ‘a very large zombie knife’.
He said there had previously been ‘some animosity’ towards the victim Levar Gilbert and the incident ‘caused real fear to people in the vicinity, not least the victim himself.’
Mr Buckland added that ‘what was intended, particularly by the thrusts through the broken car window, was to strike the head or upper body of the victim’.
Image: Joshua Gardner – Metropolitan Police.