Zom­bie knife­man spared jail had al­ready been ‘let off ’ for mug­ging boy of 12

The Mail on Sunday - - Tina Weaver - By Michael Pow­ell

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.