Judge disturbed by teen's compulsion to carry as 18-year-old jailed after McDonald's knifing
A judge denounced "epidemic levels" of knife crime as a teen was locked away after a stabbing outside an Ipswich restaurant.
Judge Rupert Overbury called it a “sad reflection on society” that Rishawn Mohammed already had a record of violence and weapons possession before the Ravenswood McDonald’s incident on June 13.
Equally disturbing, he said, was that an 18-year-old felt it necessary to arm himself with a dangerous weapon when going for a meal.
“That you found it necessary is perhaps explained by the attitude of some young people affiliated to groups living in a particular area,” added the judge, who said such affiliation fed on the notion that any slight, or disrespect, must be met with retribution.
Last month, Mohammed, of Hurricane Place, was cleared of wounding a younger boy, after claiming he was attacked by the 16-year-old and his friend, 17. He said he pulled out a knife taken from his grandmother’s kitchen after the 17-year-old produced one.
Claiming self-defence, and that he carried a knife after being stabbed twice previously, Mohammed told jurors he made a jabbing motion towards the 16-year-old, now 17, without realising he had stabbed him.
The victim, who had surgery on a cut to a major artery in his groin, was found guilty of violent disorder and will be sentenced later – as will the 17-year-old, who admitted knife possession and pleaded guilty to violent disorder on the trial’s second day.
Detective Inspector Karl Nightingale said the incident caused great distress for many people, including children, and that the convictions sent a clear message that knife possession and associated crime would not be tolerated.
He added: “It was an incident of gang aggression involving knives between rival members. This was on display for all to see on a busy summer’s evening with all its associated horrifying violence.
“We are determined to take positive action to prevent offences by removing knives and offensive weapons to prevent people being hurt and stop lives being destroyed.”
Previously convicted of battery, actual bodily harm and knife possession, Mohammed was sentenced to 21 months in a young offender institution.
The judge said knife crime had escalated to epidemic levels since the Court of Appeal’s concern over a growing trend 10 years ago.
“The message then, and more so now, is stark and clear – this is a serious offence that should be treated with the seriousness it deserves,” he concluded.