A teenager who stabbed a man dragged to the floor by a feral gang has been put away for more than four years.

Arney Stead was just 17 years old when he stabbed the man, 20s, in East Wichel on January 17.

Swindon Crown Court heard the boy, who turned 18 in March, was with a group of older friends in the housing development.

His victim had gone with two friends to Wichelstowe to buy cannabis. Stead was not the dealer.

Prosecutor Charles Thomas said the man had bought the class B drug without incident. However, the driver of the vehicle he was in, a woman, noticed a man she recognised in the dealer’s group as her cousin’s ex-boyfriend.

“As far as she was concerned, she felt he treated her cousin badly.

“She made comments to that effect and matters very quickly escalated into verbal abuse and threats being made,” he said.

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Arney Stead

The passenger in the back of the car got out. The victim of the stabbing, who was the front seat passenger, was pulled from the car.

The fight that ensued was captured on mobile phone video and described to the court.

At least two of the attackers were armed with baseball bats.

Stead walked away but returned moments later armed with a knife taken from another combatant’s man bag.

He plunged the blade into the man’s legs between six and seven times in an assault that lasted just seconds.

His victim managed to scramble back into the car and it was not until he was being driven away that he realised he had been stabbed.

At Great Western Hospital, six stab wounds to his buttocks, knee and legs were stitched. Doctors said it would take between two and three weeks for the wounds to heal. He had not made a victim statement.

Stead, who was twice before the youth court last year for knife possession, was arrested later that night, charged and put before the magistrates' court within days.

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The stabbing took place in Mattocks Path, East Wichel

Rob Ross, defending, said his client was remorseful, showed a genuine understanding of the impact of his crimes and wanted to better himself while in prison. Stead was an intelligent and enterprising young man.

“It’s astonishing when you sit and talk to the boy as I have how you look at him and you see in his eyes a real understanding of the position he’s put himself in,” the lawyer said.

“He confronts you full on, he doesn’t try to look away and he tells you ‘what I’ve done is shameful, I have to learn from it. I realise, having come into a prison environment this is not where I want to be’.

“I think he’s beginning to understand just how easy it is to go along with an older gang.”

Stead, formerly of Dixon Street, admitted wounding with intent and possession of cannabis.

Sentencing the teenager to four years and three months for the wounding matter and making no separate penalty for the cannabis possession, Judge Peter Crabtree said he had taken advantage of his victim being on the floor in order to stab him repeatedly in an utterly cowardly manner. “It can properly be described as an attack by a feral group.”

Earlier in the hearing, the judge had described the attack as vicious. He told Mr Ross: “The defendant is one of five or six people, two of them at least have baseball bats, setting about a man who’s got out the car. That group pulled out the victim from the car and eventually the defendant knifed him. The level of risk was significant. It doesn’t take much to hit an artery on a leg and we know what happens then.”

He said it was plain Stead's intention had been to inflict more serious harm than was done.