Teen caught on camera attacking car with huge ‘zombie knife’ jailed

Teen caught on camera attacking car with huge ‘zombie knife’ jailed

A teenager has been jailed after being caught on camera attacking a car with a huge "zombie knife".

Joshua Gardner, 18, has been given a three-and-a-half year jail term after the Court of Appeal ruled his suspended sentence was unduly lenient.

Dash cam footage showed Gardner, then 17, brandish the enormous blade on a south London street before launching the furious attack.

He can be seen repeatedly hitting the windows and doors as he threatened the driver, aged 19, who managed to escape.

Gardner, from Thornton Heath, south London, was found guilty of attempted GBH and also admitted affray and having an offensive weapon on London Road, Croydon, on May 30.

But he was initially given a suspended sentence after his ten-day kidnap ordeal was revealed in court.

But today appeal judge, Sir Brian Leveson, said it was for the criminal courts to hammer home the message that knife crime will not be tolerated.

"One of the challenges facing society is the common-place carrying and use of knives," he told the Court of Appeal in London.

"There can never be any excuse for carrying a weapon of the type which this offender carried on this 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 falls to the court to demonstrate that such behaviour must result in substantial and effective custodial sentences."

The court heard there had been bad feeling between Gardner and the victim, Levar Gilbert, before the attack, which happened in London Road, Croydon, in May.

Mr Gilbert panicked when he spotted Gardner on a bike beside him and tried to drive away through traffic, but crashed and was left stationary in the road.

Gardner then produced the terrifying knife from his clothing and began a 40-second assault on the car, which was captured on another vehicle’s dashcam.

It showed the then 17-year-old repeatedly trying to smash the car windows, before finally succeeding and thrusting the blade in towards Mr Gilbert.

Gardner pleaded guilty to affray and possession of an offensive weapon and was convicted by a jury of attempted GBH.

He was given a two-year sentence, suspended for two years, at the Old Bailey in November.

However, the Court of Appeal has today ruled this sentence was too soft and he will spend the next three and a half years behind bars.

Gardner, of London Road, Croydon, claimed he had the knife for protection after he was detained and made to work against his will earlier last year.

He had served 174 days on remand before he was sentenced and, since his release, had given the authorities no problems.

He was working a Saturday job and had begun to complete the 150 hours of unpaid community work he was ordered to do.

Ordering that Gardner be locked up immediately, Sir Brian Leveson said the attack was a "disgraceful incident, which caused real fear".

"One of the great problems our society is facing is knife crime in a sub-culture where people do not want to then assist the police," he said.

"Young men are losing their lives."

He added: "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 a young offenders’ institution to reflect the days that he spent on tag and his unpaid work."

Gardner was taken immediately to the cells at the Court of Appeal to begin serving his sentence.

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