'Frightening and chilling': Machete-swinging teen slashed boy in Leeds city centre during busy shopping hours
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The youngster, who cannot be named because of his age, was with a group that initially tried to rob the victim during daylight hours on July 1, but when he fought back, he was chased through the busy streets.
He suffered superficial cuts to his arms, and a cut to his lower back that was 5cm long and 2cm deep that was down to the bone and required emergency surgery.
The incident was caught on camera and played to Leeds Crown Court this week. The judge, Recorder Edward Legard, told him: "I have watched the CCTV which captured much that incident and it makes for chilling viewing.
“It took place in the middle of the day, in a crowded city centre and witnessed by a significant number of citizens who were shopping, eating outside and generally going about their everyday business.
"Given the nature of this frightening attack, it’s only a matter of extreme good fortune that his injuries were not more serious. It was particularly cowardly. I have to make this quite clear that those who produce weapons, whatever their age, and pursue and attack people intending to cause them serious injury must expect to be severely punished.”
Recorder Legard disregarded the probation’s recommendations for a youth rehabilitation order, and sent him into custody for 26 months.
Prosecutor Jessica Lister said that the defendant had been with a gang that day who traded insults with another group. They then grabbed one of the other group and told him to empty his pockets and hand over his chain.
The defendant then punched the man, who fell to the floor, but who then got up and fought back before the teenager pulled the long knife from his waistband and discarded its sheath. The victim then tried to flee, pursued by the teenager swinging the blade at him.
Armed police were deployed to arrest the defendant a short time later, and when he saw the officers, he ran and threw the machete over a wall, which was later recovered. He was arrested, handcuffed and taken in for questioning.
During his interview, he largely gave no comments, but denied trying to take the victim’s possessions, Miss Lister said.
She earlier told the court that the teenage defendant was already on bail for a robbery in Leeds city centre in December last year. Plain-clothes police happened to stumble across a group, which included a 12-year-old, who had pushed a victim against a wall and ordered him to enter his pockets.
The defendant admitted robbery, but on a basis that he only held the victim against the wall. He later admitted Section 18 wounding with intent and possession of an offensive weapon from the July 1 incident.
Mitigating, Nicholas Hammond said the boy, who has since turned 16, has no previous convictions and had “plans for the future”. He said: “He has expressed his remorse for acting in the way he did. He still can’t quite believe he behaved in this regard. He has an intention of going to college. He will not remain in the Leeds area and will go to live with his uncle.”