Knife gang thugs locked up
Three Ashford teenagers – part of a gang which ambushed and robbed a Royal Naval Reservist at knifepoint – have all been locked up.
Victim Alexander Bennett was attacked as he left Ashford International rail station to walk home last October.
As he turned into Bowens Field at its junction with Jemmett Road, he saw two of the young thugs loitering near the stream, Canterbury Crown Court heard.
One of the gang – wearing a bandanna over his mouth – asked for a light before demanding Mr Bennett hand over his watch.
Judge James O’Mahony heard how one of the youths told the victim: “That’s a nice watch, give it to me!”
When Mr Bennett refused he saw one gang member brandishing a knife and decided to hand over the watch.
Prosecutor Robert De Banzie said that Mr Bennett was then struck over the head from behind – as all four told their terrified victim: “We’re going to kill you!”
He said there was then a tussle when the gang grabbed his duffel bag – and he was slashed with a six-inch knife across his arm until he let go.
The four fled along Victoria Road before splitting into two groups, one heading along Leacon Road and the second into Gasworks Lane.
Police were alerted as the victim chased after two members of the group who were later stopped by officers and arrested.
Before the court were three members of the gang, who were 16 years old or younger at the time and cannot be named because of legal restrictions.
The fourth member – believed to be the one wearing a bandanna – has never been charged.
Lawyers for the three, who all admitted robbery, asked that any custodial sentence be suspended.
But Judge James O’Mahony told them: “The victim needs justice. You were all lying in wait to rob him. You all knew a knife was going to be used. This must have been terrifying for your victim.”
The three were each sent to a Young Offender’s Institute for 32 months and their parents wept as they were led away.