Four teenage members of a drug gang were sentenced to 42 years on Friday, October 29, 2021, for a campaign of terror that including cutting off the nose and two fingers of a rival.
Isaac Wallace Greaves and Kai Henry Smith, both 18, Kobi Nelson, 19, and 17-year-old Harley Kavanagh robbed other dealers of their drugs and money over a nine month period often in front of horrified members of the public.
Prosecutor Michael Shaw told St Albans Crown Court that one man was lured out of an address in Cotlandswick, London Colney near St Albans on 13 January, 2020, when bricks were thrown at his car.
He was chased and, when he slipped and fell on wet ground, was struck with a Samurai sword and a baseball bat. He lost two fingers and suffered the total amputation of the tip of his nose. He received a bleed to the brain, fractured skull, an open fracture to his right wrist, lost three teeth and had multiple stab wounds.
On December 9, 2019 a man parked up in a BMW in York Road, near Clarence Park, St Albans, suffered stab wounds to his hands and arms when he was attacked with machetes and swords. He needed surgery to have tendons reattached.
12 days later, on December 21, another man was ambushed in a car. His tyres were stabbed and he fled from a man who was pursuing him with a knife.
Another victim was chased into Sainsbury’s in London Colney on 23 September 23, 2020. When he came out of the shop they tried to stab and rob him. Staff who tried to intervene were threatened.
Nelson of De Parys Avenue, Bedford; Kavanagh of Willougby Court, London Colney; Wallace Greaves of Cotton Mill Crescent, St Albans and Henry-Smith of Maynard Drive, St Albans appeared for sentence, having been convicted by a jury conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit GBH.
The defendants, who were aged between 15 and 18 at the time of their crimes, met at school in St Albans.
Henry Smith had also pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to a man he stabbed in the back with a large black combat knife in Trumpington Drive, St Albans. Nelson also admitted possessing cannabis in Harpenden.
Judge Richard Foster said he found Wallace Greaves, Henry-Smith and Kavanagh , who had been involved in the Cotlandswick attack, as dangerous offenders. It means they were have to serve two-thirds of their sentence before they can be considered for parole. Nelson could be considered for parole after half of his sentence.
Wallace Greaves, Henry-Smith and Kavanagh were each sentenced to 12 years’ detention with an extended sentence of five years, which means they can be returned to custody at any time in the next 17 years.
Nelson was sentenced to six years’ detention.
The judge told Kavanagh and Wallace Greaves, who attacked the man who had his nose chopped off: “You behaved like a savage when you carried out that merciless attack on the victim at Cotlandswick. It is hard to understand how one human being can behave in such a way to another.”
He told all four: “For all of you there is the significant aggravating features of the motivation of targeting known drug dealers – either to steal their money or drugs in the knowledge that such victims are unlikely to co-operate with the police.”
The court head that on October 22, 2019, before the four events outlined by the prosecution, the police had forced entry into a home in St Edmond’s Walk, St Albans. It was the home of a vulnerable person who was being “cuckooed” by the four who were using the address as their base.
The judge commended the police for their investigation.
After the case, DC Jody Perrin said: “This violence affected the whole of St Albans and London Colney. It was complicated as we had unsupportive victims and witnesses, who were petrified to give us any information, whilst drug dealing was happening outside their homes, but they were complaining that we weren’t doing enough.”
St Albans Detective Inspector Ady Lysak said: “These offences were predetermined, organised and executed with the goal of trying to exert their authority over drug operations being run in St Albans. This gang were inflicting serious injuries at knife point and stealing from their victims.
“These teenagers were dangerous, not just to others, but also to themselves. They arranged drug meets in residential streets armed with machetes and swords, which was seen by families, including children.”
The investigation was overseen by Detective Sergeant Tom Evans, who said: “There was a genuine and significant escalation in violence which was so dramatic that there was a real and significant risk that someone may have been killed.
“We are thrilled that these individuals are now behind bars and that residents in St Albans and London Colney can go about their daily business without the fear of violence hanging over them.
“It was one of the biggest police responses to a series of incidents in St Albans.”