Three gang members have been given short sentences for participating in an “unprovoked” attack which saw a teenager hacked and stabbed with machetes and knives in the middle of a crowded McDonald’s in Northampton, England.
The trio, as teenagers aged 17 and 16 themselves have not been named for legal reasons, were part of a gang of six who surrounded two victims outside the fast food restaurant in Northampton town centre before pursuing them inside, the Northampton Chronicle and Echo reports.
One of their quarries was chased down and attacked with knives and machetes in front of horrified patrons, many with young children. They continued to stab him after he fled into the restaurant’s kitchen.
The other victim successfully eluded them with the help of McDonald’s staff.
“The restaurant was full of customers — adults, children and babies,” recalled Andrew Peet, prosecuting.
“All of them were affected by what went on, either having to move, feeling terrified, and indeed one witness feared great injury to her baby,” he added.
CCTV footage of the attack shows one of the gang members hurling a pram out of the way as they pursued their victim.
“It was blatantly a terrifying ordeal, not only for the two young victims but those who were witnesses,” Peet said.
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“This incident was truly terrifying,” said Judge Rebecca Crane, sentencing. “[The victim] was chased and stabbed even as he tried to get away.”
“It’s incredibly fortunate that the consequences were not more severe.”
She added, however, that the three violent criminals “all have loving families who support you” and claimed there is “is potential here for change and rehabilitation,” handing down what many members of the public would consider to be derisory sentences.
The 17-year-olds were handed terms of just four years, with the Northampton Chronicle and Echo confirming they will only have to serve half of them before being released on licence, while the 16-year-old was given a term of three years and two months.
It is likely that he too will serve just a fraction of this in custody, given Labour era legislation granting most criminals serving non-“life” sentences automatic early release on licence halfway or occasionally two-thirds of the way through their sentences likely applies.
A fourth gang member is said to have plead guilty at separate proceedings, while two more remain at large.
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