A teenager who avoided jail after attacking a car with a ‘zombie’ knife has been put behind bars after the Court of Appeal ruled his sentence was too lenient.
Joshua Gardner, 19, was caught on camera hitting a car with a large combat knife in rush-hour traffic in May.
He was originally handed a two-year suspended sentence in November 2018 but on Wednesday the Court of Appeal ruled that was too lenient and jailed the teen for three-and-a-half years.
Judges heard that Gardner attacked the car after spotting the victim, who he had previously argued with, inside in Croydon, south London, in May 2018.
The victim tried to drive away but clipped the wheel of Gardner’s bike, causing him to fall. Gardner then started kicking the vehicle before hitting the windows with his knife.
He eventually managed to smash the passenger window and tried to stab the victim through the hole.
Gardner appeared at the Court of Appeal in London on Wednesday after Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC referred his sentence as being “unduly lenient”.
Mr Buckland said Gardner attacked the vehicle “in a seriously violent and sustained way” using “a very large zombie knife”.
Judges Sir Brian Leveson, Mr Justice Nicol and Sir Brian Keith were shown dashcam footage of the incident, which was widely shared online at the time of the attack.
Mark Stevens, representing Gardner, said his client’s defence at trial, which was not believed, was that he was simply “trying to scare” his victim.
Describing the knife Gardner was carrying, which had a 10-inch blade, as “horrific”, Sir Brian said: “One of the challenges facing society is the commonplace carrying and use of knives.
“That can never be an excuse for carrying a weapon of the type which this offender carried on that 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 thus falls to the court to demonstrate that such behaviour must result in substantial and effective custodial sentences.
“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 custody at a young offender’s institution to reflect the days that he spent on tag and his unpaid work.”
Speaking outside the Court of Appeal, the Solicitor General said: “Gardner took to the streets in broad daylight, terrorising his victim and those members of the public who witnessed this extreme act of violence with a dangerous weapon.
“I am pleased that the Court of Appeal has today decided that a custodial sentence is more appropriate to help prevent Gardner from posing a threat to anyone else.”