Zombie knifeman spared jail had already been ‘let off ’ for mugging boy of 12
A TEENAGE thug who was handed a suspended sentence for wielding a zombie knife in a shocking street attack had previously been let off with only a community order after threatening a 12-year-old schoolboy with a weapon.
There was public outrage last week when Joshua Gardner, 18, avoided jail despite being filmed brandishing the massive knife on the streets of Croydon, South London – and hammering at a car window as he tried to attack the terrified driver.
Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal that three months before the crime in May, Gardner was handed a youth rehabilitation order for attempting to rob a 12-year-old.
Gardner pulled out a pocket knife and demanded the youngster’s phone and wallet as he walked to school in Croydon in March 2017.
Gardner was found guilty of one count of attempted robbery after a trial at Croydon Magistrates’ Court i n February. But magistrates decided not to send him to prison and instead gave him a 12-month youth rehabilitation order. He was also ordered to pay £100 in compensation and costs of £50.
Despite being given a second chance, shocking dash-cam footage showed Gardner, then aged 17, brandishing the enormous blade on London Road, Croydon just weeks later. He repeatedly smashed it against the windows and doors of a blue Volkswagen Polo as he threatened the 19-year-old driver, who got out of the car and fled.
Gardner was found guilty at the Old Bailey of attempted grievous bodily harm. He also admitted affray and having an offensive weapon. But Judge Anuja Dhir spared him from an immediate jail sentence, despite being presented with a probation report detailing his previous conviction.
Gardner’s barrister told the judge he had suffered a ten-day kidnap ordeal in April at the hands of a rival gang. The judge told Gardner that the kidnapping had ‘reduced your culpability’.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has announced there will be a review of Gardner’s case.
It may be referred to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that his two- year suspended sentence is ‘unduly lenient’.
Gardner is said to be a known member of the G Lane gang in Croydon and has reportedly appeared in violent drill rap music videos, with lyrics boasting about stabbings and shootings.
Harry Fletcher, of the Victims Rights Campaign, said: ‘Cases like this make you wonder what you have to do to be sent to prison.’
CHANCELLOR Philip Hammond has dealt a blow to Home Secretary Sajid Javid by earmarking just £90 million in extra funds from the Treasury to combat ‘ Wild West’ Britain’s soaring crime rate.
Ministers are set to boast that some £160 million has been approved from Whitehall to ease overstretched police budgets.
But The Mail on Sunday can reveal £70 million of this cash will have to come from ‘re-prioritising’ other Home Office spending, rather than being new money from the Chancellor.
TERRIFYING: Joshua Gardner wields the huge blade in the attack last May