The Attorney General is reviewing a judge’s decision to allow a thug who slashed at a car window with a zombie knife to walk free on a suspended sentence.
Dashcam footage showed Joshua Gardner, 18, brandishing the enormous blade on a busy south London road and threatening its 19-year-old driver, who got out and ran away.
But there was fury this week when he was only given a suspended sentence for the shocking attack, after claiming he was scared of being kidnapped.
It emerged today that Gardner is part of a ‘drill’ music gang, who rap about shootings and ‘slashings’ in videos filmed in south London.
The Attorney General is now reviewing the controversial sentence to decide whether there is grounds to ask appeal judges to jail Gardner.
Joshua Gardner lashed out at the driver and tried to smash a window with an enormous knife
Gardner is reportedly part of the G-Lane gang who post drill videos on YouTube
Gardner is known to the Met Police’s gang unit and has appeared in drill videos produced by the so-called ‘GLane’ gang, The Times reported.
He had a previous conviction for attempting to rob a schoolboy of his mobile and wallet at knifepoint and was convicted of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent over the road rage incident.
Earlier this week, Judge Anuja Dhir QC caused fury by deciding not to send him to jail after hearing he had previously been kidnapped.
The judge said: ‘There was an incident of kidnapping between about March 26 and April 2, so a relatively short period of time before you committed this offence.
Joshua Gardner (pictured in an undated police mug shot) pulled out a huge knife and began smashing at a car during a frenzied attack in Croydon on May 30 this year
‘You were bundled into a car, and threatened with a gun because of a drug debt that a friend of yours had run up.
‘You were then taken to a place referred to as a trap house for ten days and you were made to sell drugs to work off the debt.’
The kidnapping, said to be by a gang of men in their 20s, ‘reduced your culpability’, she told Gardner.
Judge Dhir passed a sentence of two years in jail suspended for two years after hearing of his kidnap ordeal and reading a letter from his mother.
Gardner will have to carry out 150 hours unpaid work and be tagged and subject to a dawn to dusk curfew.
The Attorney General’s office has confirmed it is reviewing the sentence after the judge’s decision sparked fury.
Serving Greater Manchester Police officer ‘Sgt K’ tweeted that he had been left ‘speechless’.
Cliff Baxter said: ‘The sentencing here does nothing, nothing to act as a deterrent to those who carry and use knives.’
People took to Twitter to vent their anger that a cyclist thug who wielded a zombie knife on a driver was spared jail
Who are the ‘GLane’ gang?
GLane, also known as CR7, are a gang which operate in Thornton Heath, which is near Croydon, south London.
They are thought to be named after Green Lane, a road which runs through the district.
The gang’s drill music videos have become popular among followers online.
In the videos, members often wear skull masks or bandanas over their faces.
One song is called ‘Splash Man Down’, a slang reference to someone having been stabbed.
It includes the lyrics: ‘Bro’s holding a smoke, I’m holding my knife. See them at KFC, they was never gonna see us.’
In August last year, members of a rival gang, CR0, from Croydon stabbed schoolboy Jermaine Goupall to death because they wrongly believed he was from the CR7/GLane gang.
Others joined the derision, saying the soft sentence could act as an encouragement to other criminals.
‘Well he won’t do that again,’ Sgt Harry Tangy tweeted in a sarcastic tone.
Another account, Limetree Maintenance, wrote: ‘And that right there is what is wrong with the UK at the minute. No wonder gang crime is so high… A slap on the wrist and maybe a fine. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.’
Defence lawyer Mark Stevens told the court his client was ‘thoroughly ashamed’ of himself and for the ‘pain’ he had put his family through.
‘His mother is really looking to move away from the area. It is a completely different borough,’ he said.
‘He was 17 at the time and I would urge the court to sentence him as if he were a 17-year-old.
Gardner, of Croydon, was convicted of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent but admitted affray and possession of an offensive weapon.
He claimed he was forced to sell drugs for ten days after being kidnapped and Judge Dhir accepted this was true.
The thug tried to get in the car using the passenger door in the attack, but found it was locked
A map created by researchers of London’s gangs shows the GLane’s estimated territory. GLane’s sphere of influence is shown in the orange section at the bottom of the map. Their rival gang, CR0 in Croydon (represented by the larger, black section), borders their territory
How Gardner could STILL be jailed
The Attorney General, the government’s top legal officer, is able to refer sentences he believes are ‘unduly lenient’ for review at the Court of Appeal.
Three senior judges then decide whether to increase the original sentence, such as by adding a custodial sentence.
The defendant’s lawyers also present a case for why the sentence was not too soft.
Sentencing guidelines say those who commit GBH with intent can get between three and 16 years in prison, although Gardner was convicted of attempted GBH because he did not cause any physical harm, which would reduce any possible sentence.
She told Gardner: ‘It was a frightening incident. You attacked a car in a threatening menacing way. The incident was caught on camera and the footage was played to the jury.
‘It showed the extent of the violence you used. The film shows you were cycling at the time along London Road when the driver of the car pulled out and clipped your bike.
‘You were then seen to attack his car with your feet, your fists and with the Zombie knife you produced from your waistband.
‘You were seen to attack first the driver’s window. You then tried to open the back passenger door.
‘You then swiftly moved to the other side of the car, smashing the front passenger window and putting your hand inside.’
The footage of the incident was watched by more than 100,000 people and Croydon North MP Steve Reed wrote to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to call for more to be done to tackle the ‘rapid escalation’ in knife crime.
The road rage incident also left Gardner in breach of a youth rehabilitation order put in place after his earlier attempted robbery.
Others joined the derision, saying the soft sentence could act as an encouragement to other criminals
Detective Constable Aaron Champion said: ‘The footage that was circulated widely in the media, which showed Gardner waving around a “zombie” style knife understandably shocked both the communities of Croydon and the wider public.
‘He had decided that day for whatever reason that he would attack this man and brazenly pulled out this knife in front of horrified members of the public, some of whom had finished work or had collected their children from school.
‘His conviction and sentence send out the message that the police will not tolerate the mind-set Gardner seems to have adopted – that the casual use of a knife is justified to settle even minor differences.’
The Attorney General’s office is able to refer supposedly lenient sentences for review at the Court of Appeal. Tonight a source confirmed to MailOnline that a referral had been received.