Beds, Herts & Bucks

Stevenage Swingate machete attack boy detained

Swingate, Stevenage Image copyright Google
Image caption A court heard the victim was returning to his car when he was stabbed in the back by the boy

A 16-year-old boy who stabbed a man with a machete, missing the victim's heart by 5mm (0.2in), has been detained for three-and-a-half years.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, stabbed the 36-year-old man following an argument in Stevenage town centre on 5 January.

The boy pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and having a bladed article at St Albans Crown Court.

Judge Andrew Bright said "good fortune" spared the victim "a bloody death".

The court heard the victim, who was stabbed in the back, was returning to his car at the time.

'Gang culture'

An air ambulance was needed to take him to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

Police said the boy was picked up nearby and found to have blood on his hands, although the weapon has never been found.

Andel Singh, defending, said the boy's mother had tried to prevent her son from getting caught up in gangs.

"She tried take him out of London and away from the gang culture to get her son on the right track," he said.

The judge said he was full of admiration for the defendant's mother, who had moved her family to Stevenage at the end of 2016.

But he said despite that, the boy's behaviour had not significantly improved since then.

"You could so easily have been facing a charge of murder," Judge Bright told the defendant.

"It's only good fortune that saved him [the victim] from a bloody death."

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