Families today slammed the UK's "soft" justice system – after one of the bloodiest fortnights in which 12 people were stabbed to death in just 14 days.
Current laws say anyone caught in possession of a knife for a second time should automatically receive a six-month prison sentence.
But of those convicted in the last three years, more than a third escaped being sent to jail – and were instead let off with fines, cautions or a suspended sentence.
One of those is 'zombie' knife thug Joshua Gardner, 18, who was spared jail despite threatening a schoolboy at knifepoint and wielding a machete at innocent motorists.
He was first let off with a community order after threatening a 12-year-old schoolboy for his phone and wallet in March 2017.
ZOMBIE KNIFE MANIAC WAS SPARED JAIL
A teen maniac who was filmed hitting a car was initially spared jail despite wielding a "zombie knife" in a shocking street attack.
Footage of Joshua Gardner, 18, wildly slashing at a blue VW car that had clipped his bike in May last year went viral.
The driver fled as Gardner smashed a window and tried to rip a door off in Croydon, South London.
He was convicted of attempted GBH at the Old Bailey last year. During his trial, he claimed to carry the knife for self-defence following a ten-day kidnap ordeal.
The court heard how the thug had previously been let off with a community order after demanding a 12-year-old schoolboy’s phone and wallet at knife point in March 2017.
Gardner, a known gang member, was finally caged in January after an appeal judge ruled his suspended sentence was too lenient. He was jailed for three-and-a-half years in January.
Then he was caught on camera wildly slashing at a driver’s window in Croydon with a ten-inch “zombie” knife.
He erupted in rage after the motorist accidentally pulled out in front of his bike in May 30 last year.
Despite his terrifying crimes, he was only handed a suspended sentence last November after claiming to carry the knife for self-defence.
Eventually his sentence was reviewed – following a public outcry – and he was finally jailed for three-and-a-half years in January.
LAW AND DISORDER
The current law, rolled out in 2015, states judges must impose a minimum six-month sentence for those aged 16 and over.
Despite this, of the 13,056 repeat knife offenders convicted over the past three years, a staggering 4,908 escaped with a suspended sentence, community punishment, fines or cautions.
Emma Caley, whose son Jordan Taylor died after a fight with knife thug Hayden Maslen in Trowbridge, Wiltshire in March 2017, called for "zero tolerance".
She told the Sun Online: "People who go out with a knife are getting cautioned when caught and if it's a second offence they're getting suspended sentences.
"And so we [the victims' families] all think 'where's the deterrent'?
"If they could free up the prisons for petty crime, they would be more room for serious crime because going out with a knife is serious. There's got to be zero tolerance."
She is still fuming after a trial jury cleared Maslen of murder and manslaughter – and believed claims he was acting "in self-defence".
Despite admitting carrying a deadly weapon, he was jailed for just 10 months.
Danny O’Brien, who founder Anti-Knife UK and campaigned for the “two strikes and you’re out” rule, told the Sun Online: “Many families are leaving court feeling like they never got justice for their loved ones. British justice has gone soft.
"Four years down the line [and the rule] is hardly used.
“The whole justice system is not working at present and every court case seems to give a different sentence."
Only yesterday Kyle Davis, 18, a suspected drug dealer with a history of carrying a blade, dodged jail.
The whole justice system is not working at present and every court case seems to give a different sentence
He was given a suspended sentence despite being caught with wraps of cocaine and a lock knife – his second weapons' offence.
He had first been caught carrying a knife at school at the age of 14, for which he received a police caution.
As he left Birmingham Magistrates' Court yesterday, he laughed and took a boasting selfie on his phone.
Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, said: "Justice ministers and judges are completely out of touch with the public on this issue.
"We need more knife crime offenders in prison – not fewer of them. It's time for the Government and the courts to get tough."
David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, added: "This is totally unacceptable. People who walk around carrying knives should be facing long prison sentences."
Ann Oakes-Odger, who founded Knife Crimes.Org after her son Westley was stabbed to death in 2005 and successfully campaigned for a maximum four year sentence for possession, said: “We are far too lenient on people caught carrying knives.
“We really need for offenders to see that sentencing is not only robust but sends a strong message to deter them.
“At the moment the people involved in crime seem to be laughing at the legal system.
“It is sickening as a mother myself still experiencing the loss of a son to keep seeing such futile and mindless deaths."
It comes after the family of murdered Jodie Chesney yesterday called on the government to increase jail terms for anyone caught carrying a knife.
Relative Karen Chesney urged people to lobby the government to ensure those convicted of carrying a knife receive a minimum of 10 years in jail, while those who attack receive at least a 25-year sentence.
An online petition backed by Jodie's family has been signed more than 45,000 times.
FREE TO KILL
The family of youth worker Omid Saidy said they also felt let down by the British justice system and were "living a life sentence every day".
Their son’s killer Charlie Hurd, now 18, was free to stab their son to death despite a string of previous knife offences.
Hurd had been sentenced to eight months’ detention and training in 2016 for a machete robbery and given a referral order for carrying a knife in his sock. He had also taken a weapon to school when he was aged just 12.
He had only been released from a young offenders’ institution five weeks before the attack and was required to wear an electronic tag and live under a curfew at his Co Durham home.
But he tore off his tag and travelled almost 300 miles to Parsons Green, in West London, where he knifed Omid to death.
The Old Bailey heard he was obsessed with knives and Instagram photos showed him posing with a samurai sword and a hunting knife.
He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years detention in June last year.
It was also revealed in court that the killer's accomplice, Shafiq Smith, 20, had been caught with a 30cm knife four days before the attack but was released.
Omid’s mum Virginia Jerome told the Sun Online: “The judge knew the boys that killed my son had previous convictions for knife crime and they were still lenient on them.
“We are living a life sentence every day since that fatal day. Our life has changed forever and my son is never coming back.
'A LIFE FOR A LIFE'
“Scum that kill shouldn’t be allowed back in society. You took a life, so you should do life.
“My son was born and raised in this country, he was a youth worker and helped the community. My family and I feel let down by the justice system.
“Everywhere you turn another young person is being killed because of knife crime. And the government isn’t doing anything to help.”
Omid's dad Majid said: "There’s nothing to deter kids from carrying knives, there’s nothing for them to worry about.
“They can be back on the street in five or ten hours after a police interview.
“Carrying a knife is just too easy. There’s no deterrent.
"There's not enough police on the streets either. They are dealing more with hate crime than real crime. They should concentrate on what’s real. Kids out here are killing.”
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