THREE teenage thugs who carried out a terrifying, unprovoked knife attack on two innocent men in Sheffield city centre have been sentenced to a total of 45 years in prison.
A judge said it was ‘difficult to imagine’ a more ‘cowardly and hateful attack’ than the stabbing carried out by Yousef Alquebai and Sheldon Jordan, both aged just 17, and Reece Barnes, 18. The three had been among a gang of yobs who knifed two men they chose simply at random.
“This was brutal gangland-style violence in the centre of Sheffield, and cannot be tolerated,” Judge Peter Kelson QC told Sheffield Crown Court.
The thugs’ victims - pals Paul Marisson and Daniel Mace - had just enjoyed a night out in Sheffield city centre, and were strolling along Holly Lane near West Street at the back of the City Hall, when they were suddenly confronted.
A member of the gang shouted, ‘I will shank you up’ - street slang for stabbing - before launching the violent, unprovoked, attack.
The 24-year-olds were punched, headbutted and kicked to the ground.
Then, as they lay curled up and defenceless on the ground, they were repeatedly stabbed.
Both men sustained life-threatening injuries and each required extensive surgery.
Mr Marisson sustained two stab wounds - one 12cm deep - and had to have his spleen removed. Mr Mace was stabbed seven times, puncturing both lungs.
The court heard the stabbing, in June 2011, was carried out by Alquebai and Barnes - and that Jordan had been the gang leader.
Judge Kelson QC jailed each of them to 15 years, saying he believed they played an equal part in what was a joint enterprise.
“I am satisfied you three had determined that the next male who walked by, whoever he was, would be subject to a brutal attack,” he told the trio.
“Your victims were minding their own business when they came across you three and several others.
“At no stage did they offer any provocation at all - they were simply passers-by.
“A more cowardly and hateful attack is difficult to imagine.
“It is only sheer good fortune that neither of these two victims died.
“Each of you knew knives would be used in this attack - it was a joint enterprise.”
Alquebai, of The Oval, Firth Park, Jordan, of City Road, and Barnes of Delves Road, Hackenthorpe, had all denied two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm but were convicted by jurors.
Two other men - William Maris, 18, and Jordan Campbell, 21, both of Downham Road, Firth Park - were acquitted following a trial.
“The facts of this case have been deeply, profoundly shocking,” he said. “You have sat on a horrific case and I exempt all 12 of you from jury service for 10 years.”