A teenager filmed brandishing a zombie knife at Notting Hill Carnival has admitted possessing an offensive weapon and now faces an “immediate prison sentence”, a court heard today.
Samuel O’Brien, 19, was photographed charging at onlookers armed with the two-foot-long weapon earlier this year.
Shocking images showed O’Brien, wearing a black hoodie and black jogging bottoms, appearing to walk towards the crowd with his gun over his head as revelers looked on, helpless and horrified.
It came as eight people were stabbed at the street party, resulting in an “unsustainable and unacceptable” level of violence, prompting a government crackdown on the knives.
Earlier today, O’Brien appeared at Isleworth Crown Court in west London via video link from Wandsworth Prison.
Samuel O’Brien, 19, was photographed charging at onlookers armed with the two-foot-long weapon earlier this year
Shocking images showed O’Brien, wearing a black hoodie and black jogging bottoms, appearing to walk towards the crowd with his gun over his head as revelers looked on, helpless and horrified
He admitted committing an act of violence, possessing an offensive weapon and possessing cannabis, but denied a charge of attempted grievous bodily harm.
The offenses are said to have taken place on Portobello Road on August 28.
Wearing a gray sweater and sweatpants, O’Brien spoke only to confirm his name and to ensure he could hear the proceedings.
During the 10-minute hearing, his attorney, Andrew Hill, called for a probation report to be prepared before sentencing.
He said: “My client is 19 years old.” I spoke to family members. Life has been pretty chaotic over the last few years, especially recently with the passing of many family members, including his presumed father, his grandfather, who passed away very, very recently.
“It may be that the sentencing court will inevitably consider that a custodial sentence will follow, but I think that this period may be extended if a pre-sentence report is obtained.”
Judge Alistair Hammerton ordered O’Brien to remain in custody before adjourning proceedings to deliver sentence on December 21.
He told O’Brien: “May I make it clear to you that the court has excluded nothing and excluded nothing in ordering reports?”
“There is a significant likelihood that you will be sentenced to immediate prison but it is very important that all matters are fully investigated.”
In response to the violent carnival, the government announced that possession of a machete or zombie knife “without practical use” would be punishable by up to two years in prison in a bid to close loopholes in the law.
Rishi Sunak said the event highlighted the need to give police and courts powers to tackle knife crime in the capital.
Zombie knives got their nickname because they mimic weapons commonly seen in horror films, particularly “zombie apocalypse” films.
A man is seen holding his face in his hands as he is led away from Notting Hill Carnival by two Metropolitan Police officers on August 28
This year’s carnival saw serious outbreaks of unrest, with two victims aged 19 and 29 suffering serious injuries from knife attacks.
In total, eight men aged between 18 and 40 were stabbed, while police arrested 308 people for violence, sexual offenses and possession of drugs and dangerous weapons. A firearm was also seized.
More than 75 police officers have been attacked, with officers being kicked, punched, spit on, bitten, headbutted and even sexually assaulted.
Officers also reportedly observed urination from the upstairs windows.
The Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, described the incidents as “absolutely disgusting”.
There are six known incidents in which officers were bitten, one sexual assault against a police officer and another who was so seriously injured that he was taken to hospital for treatment.
“No wonder our members are afraid of surveillance of this event,” the association said in a tweet.
New legislation to combat zombie knives means that machetes designed to create an intimidating and threatening appearance will become illegal under the new legislation.
The maximum penalty for possessing, selling, manufacturing or importing the banned weapons will be increased from six months to two years, as will the maximum penalty for selling knives to under-18s.
Police will also be given new powers to confiscate and destroy knives found on private property if there are reasonable grounds to believe the blade could be used in a serious crime.
Under current law, police are not permitted to confiscate knives found during a search of a property, even if there is suspicion of criminal use.
Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, which organizes the two-day street party, distanced itself from the violent scenes at the street party and said those responsible had “nothing to do with Notting Hill Carnival or its values”.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the company said: “Notting Hill Carnival was once again a spectacular weekend of color and sound, the culmination of a year’s work that has resulted in this hugely important and unique cultural event.”
“Mardi Gras is about these communities and people who put so much time, love, incredible creativity and effort into the parade, sound systems, music, food, costumes and much more that make up the event.”
“We regret all acts of violence. These people have nothing to do with Notting Hill Carnival and its values.”
“Tragically, such incidents are all too common in our society.” Last year, the Office for National Statistics showed that 12,786 knife offenses were committed in the capital in the 12 months to the end of March. Unfortunately, this affects us just like every other community.
“We will continue to work hard with our partners to protect Notting Hill Carnival and the people who make it so special.”
Source : www.dailymail.co.uk