Terrifying scenes unfolded in a busy shopping mall as three teenagers lashed out at each other with blades including a machete and a large hunting knife.
Families and young children looked on in horror as Che Stephens, Luca Sanni and Imani Pobi Da Silva, now all 18, embarked on a terrifying knife fight, leaving trails of blood through the mall.
Dramatic CCTV footage shows Stephens stabbing Pobi Da Silva, who was 17 at the time, and seconds later Sanni confronts Stephens with a machete, swinging it at him.
Stephens is then caught on CCTV stabbing Sanni, who was left with a life-threatening injury, before calmly fleeing the scene at after the fight, which happened at The Mall in Luton on January 21.
Sanni, of Luton, was jailed for five years at Luton Crown Court after being found guilty of attempted grievous bodily harm and affray. He was also handed a sentence eight months, to be served concurrently, after admitting possession of a bladed article.
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Pobi Da Silva, also of Luton, was sentenced to 12 months after being found guilty of possession of a bladed article.
Stephens, of Bedford, was sentenced to seven years and six months for wounding with intent and 18 months, to run concurrently, after pleading guilty to possession of a bladed article.
Sentencing the trio, judge Barbara Mensah described the violence as “a prolonged confrontation with shocking consequences in a public place”.
She said: “That horrifying spectacle was not taking place in a film in a cinema or down an alley away from public gaze. It took place in broad daylight.
She added: “CCTV shows children and families going about their business. It was something they had to see.”
The judge rejected the idea that the fight was over an ex-girlfriend and said there was a suggestion that they had backgrounds linked to gangs.
“Who knows why you decided to meet,” she said. “It might have been drugs territory or gangs – only the three of you know and you have chosen not to disclose it. You were all culpable.”
The court heard that Sanni was left with a life-threatening 2.5cm cut to his lower thigh and was lucky that a medically-trained passerby decided to stop and help him.
Prosecutor Martin Mulgrew said: “Sanni was helped in that one of the passersby was an ex-Army medic who applied a tourniquet which saved his life. He was blue-lipped and received life-saving treatment from a vascular surgeon.
“A vein had been nicked. Police had expected to turn this into a murder investigation.”
Sanni and Pobi Da Silva, who suffered a deep wound to the left arm, were taken to hospital for treatment where they were arrested and later charged. Stephens was arrested in London.
After the sentencing, Bedfordshire Police Detective Inspector Jackie Dadd said: “I hope this sentence sends a very clear message to others who may be carrying a knife – violence like this won’t be tolerated.
“If you carry a knife then you’re more likely to become a victim of crime yourself.”