London News & Search
A masked teenager who carried out two “sickening” knife attacks on young men during a mass water fight at Hyde Park last summer has been jailed for 14 years.
Violence broke out on one of the hottest days of the summer when thousands of people gathered on the banks of the Serpentine with music and alcohol.
Joshua Clements, then 18, donned a scary camouflage mask and armed himself with a nine-inch hunting knife before setting out with his friends to rob party-goers.
Prosecutor Linda Strudwick said: “On that evening Joshua Clements and a group of associates attended an unscheduled and unlicensed music event in Hyde Park.
“A large crowd of mainly young people had gathered in Hyde Park. Most were simply young people intent on enjoying themselves, but others were out to cause mischief and disturbance.
“Joshua Clements and his group were intent on robbery and trouble that night. He had come prepared. He had a mask on top of his head ready to be pulled down as a disguise and he was also carrying a hunting knife.”
Business law student Audean Thompson, 20, suffered a leg injury in his youth and wore a calliper and used a walking stick, the Old Bailey heard.
Clements approached him and said “what’s wrong with your leg”, and Mr Thompson replied: “Nothing, don’t worry about it.”
The teenager then pulled out the knife from his shoulder bag and shouted at him, prompting the victim to lift his stick to fend him off.
Later, Mr Thompson was surrounded by Clements and his gang, armed with knives.
The court heard Mr Thompson backed away but one of the group jumped on him and kneed him in the back, sending him to the ground.
He was stabbed in the leg and chest as a male voice shouted “dib him, dib him”.
The attack on July 19 last year was captured on graphic mobile phone footage which was played in court.
Mr Thompson was taken to hospital where he was treated for a 4cm stab wound to the chest and other injuries.
The court heard he lost his wallet, bank cards and £150 cash in the attack.
Earlier that night, male model Duane Williams, 20, who was approached by the defendant near the boating lake in the park.
He was stabbed in the stomach, leaving part of his bowel lining protruding.
When Clements walked back to his friends, one of them asked: “Why did you do that?”
Both victims have described their difficulties going out since the attacks and how their experiences have affected them and their families.
Mr Thompson wrote in his statement: “The attack was on social media and I worry people will recognise me. I have not been on a bus since.”
Mr Williams told how he was left fearful about going out and his scars stopped him working as a body model.
His footballing ambitions were also put on hold as he dealt with the physical and psychological trauma.
The court heard his faith and trust in people were “seriously undermined”.
Clements was arrested on July 27 last year and his home in East Acton was searched.
Police recovered a ring and Armani pouch which had been snatched from two other party-goers in the park that night.
They found the hunting knife which had Mr Thompson’s DNA on it.
Cocaine with a street value of £560 and up to £680 worth of heroin were also seized.
Clements, now 19, previously pleaded guilty to two charges of wounding and having an offensive weapon as well as two counts of handling stolen goods.
He has also admitted possession of heroin and crack cocaine with intent and appeared before the Old Bailey for sentencing.
The court heard he had a large number of previous convictions for drugs and robbery dating back to the age of 13.
More recently, he was imprisoned for affray and possession of an offensive weapon.
Clements had been released from Feltham Young Offenders Institution in May last year and was still subject to a training order at the time of the July attack.
The supervision period for the training order was due to expire the next day.
Judge Michael Topolski QC sentenced Clements to 14 years in a young offenders institution with an extended licence period of five years.
He said the attack on Mr Thompson was a “truly terrifying and sickening event to watch”.
The judge said: “These offences were premeditated as evidenced by the fact the defendant brought with him a hunting knife and mask.
“These were vicious attacks on two unarmed entirely innocent victims, one of whom was vulnerable who I have no doubt was targeted for that very reason.
“Fuelled by drink and drugs, having brutally stabbed him several times, you had already stabbed another victim when you found him at another completely different part of the park. You stabbed him not even making any attempt to rob him.”
Detective Inspector Dave Bolton from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Thousands of people had gathered in Hyde Park to enjoy a hot summer’s afternoon last year, but unfortunately Joshua Clements was intent on criminality.
“He is a violent individual who targeted two innocent people for no reason, thinking he could evade justice in the crowd. His victims sustained very serious injuries and I am pleased that despite his attempts to delay the judicial process, he has now received this substantial sentence.”
London News & Search