A teenager filmed attacking a car with a massive zombie knife has been spared jail – because he was kidnapped weeks earlier.
Terrifying footage filmed in Croydon on May 30 showed Joshua Gardner, then 17, smashing up a car using the knife.
But Gardner, now 18, was let off with a suspended sentence after a judge heard he carried the knife following a ten-day kidnap ordeal in which he was held at gunpoint.
Gardner was convicted of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent following a trial at the Old Bailey in London.
The video of the incident went viral earlier this year, and prompted Croydon North MP Steve Reed to write to Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling for more to be done to tackle knife crime.
Gardner began attacking the car when the 19-year-old driver of the blue Volkswagen clipped his bike, the court heard.
In dashcam footage played to the jury, he tried to rip the door of its hinges and smashed a window, as the driver ran away.
Mark Stevens, defending, claimed Gardner carried the zombie knife as he was scared of being attacked.
He said: He is thoroughly ashamed not for himself, but for the pain he has put his family through.
Judge Anuja Dhir QC 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.
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.
However, she described the attack as menacing and said he would have otherwise been jailed.
Gardner, of Thornton Heath, south London, also admitted admitted affray and possession of an offensive weapon.
He was sentenced to two years in jail suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and be tagged and subject to a dawn to dusk curfew.
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.