Young men jailed after victims of Bristol knife attacks left ‘lucky to be alive’
Police secured the convictions despite none of the victims providing statements
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Four young men are behind bars after two separate knife attacks in Bristol left their teenage victims lucky to be alive.
Kaya Carr, 19, and Jaheim Mullings, 19, both from Knowle, were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on January 31 after the stabbing of a teenager at Patco Wines in Totterdown in April last year.
They pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and were each sentenced to four years imprisonment, with Mullings sentenced to an additional three months for committing the offence while on a community order.
And on February 11, 20-year-old Jerome Edwards of Broadfield Road in Knowle, and another male who cannot be named due to his age were sentenced in connection with the stabbing of two teenage males in Toronto Avenue, Horfield in August 2020.
Their victims sustained serious injuries during the ‘pre-meditated’ attack, which was carried out after one of the victims had been deemed ‘disrespectful’ by the pair.
After both pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, Edwards was jailed for five years while the younger defendant was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ detention.
Police sought out ‘victimless’ prosecutions after the victims of the attacks chose not to provide statements.
Detective Sgt Nicholas Lawson said: “For a number of reasons, victims do not always wish to engage in investigations and this presents obvious investigative challenges.
“Despite this, we will always take positive action to identify and prosecute those involved in knife crime in order to prevent similar incidents and for the wider protection of the public.”
“In both of these cases, the victims were extremely lucky to avoid fatal or life changing injuries.
“Together with agency partners, we are working hard to address the causes of youth violence and trying to engage with young people to help them understand the devastating consequences carrying and using knives can have.”
Knife crime in Bristol
Despite the sentencings, figures show that fewer knife offenders in Avon and Somerset were jailed last year.
In the year to September 2021, the criminal justice system handed down 392 punishments for knife crime in Avon and Somerset, 119 (30%) of which were immediate jail sentences.
That was a lower proportion than the year before, when 36% of knife offenders were sent to prison, while in 2019 – prior to the coronavirus pandemic – the figure stood at 41%.
Nationally, just 28% of criminals received a jail sentence after being convicted over knife crime last year, down significantly from 36% in the year to September 2020.
Campaigners say it’s all down to knife crime laws being applied in a ‘weak and ineffective way’ as Ministry of Justice figures show fewer criminals are going to jail for knife and weapons offences across England and Wales.
Patrick Green, CEO of anti-knife crime charity the Ben Kinsella Trust, said knife crime victims were being failed by the criminal justice system.
He said: “These figures show that the justice system allowed thousands of habitual knife carriers to avoid prison and walk out of court.
“The prospect of an offender being imprisoned for a knife crime offence is diminishing and the law is no longer providing a deterrent to serial knife carriers.”
What are police doing to tackle knife crime among young people?
Avon and Somerset Police said they had developed a number of youth diversion and intervention schemes which help to educate young people on the dangers of knife crime.
The force are working towards every school in the area having a dedicated school link officer who works alongside the school to build relationships and help to diffuse situations before they escalate.
Pupils aged 13-15 have also taken part in ‘Blunt Truth’ workshops which encourage the teenagers to report knife crime and feature a first aid session which shows how to keep someone who has been stabbed alive while waiting for an ambulance.
It is hoped that the workshops will be rolled out to more schools over the next year.