A group of teenagers who split a boy's head open with a machete so badly his skull was exposed have been handed community sentences.
The eight teenagers, some as young as just 14 at the time, attacked Tom Hilton, who was 17, after chasing him down "like a pack of gorillas" and setting upon him with machetes, an axe and a golf club.
He suffered a serious head injury as well as wounds to his shoulders and legs during the attack in Rishton, near Accrington in Lancashire, in August 2021.
Preston Crown Court heard Mr Hilton had gone to the Old Paper Mill in the town which was a popular meeting place, to look for a teenage girl.
But when he arrived he was chased by the group of boys and through the woods and onto the road in an attempt to escape them.
But the gang caught up with him, surrounding him and each then either attacked him directly with weapons or fists or encouraged the others, the court heard.
Danny Yakub, Kane Taylor, Davis Hargreaves, James Meagre, Jay Dean Slater, Connor Armstrong, a 16-year-old boy and 17-year-old boy - who cannot be named for legal reasons - were found guilty of violent disorder, and others also of witness intimidation.
After the group were arrested and charged, the 16-year-old obtained footage of police interviews featuring the victim and a member of the public.
He then circulated it on Snapchat, with offensive comments and emojis in a bid to intimidate them. Those posts were shared by Yakub.
During the trial the group also showed 'disrespect to the court', laughing and joking at what was going on.
Sentencing them all to community orders the judge said they group should be "thoroughly ashamed of yourselves", adding "but I am not at all convinced you are".
"I have to have at the forefront of my mind the fact that most of you were children when you committed these offences," Judge Philip Parry said.
"I make it very, very clear that all eight of you have behaved disgracefully, in relation to the violent disorder but also intimidation of witnesses, supply of class A drugs and street robbery.
"You should all eight be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves but I am not at all convinced you are.
"Many of you have found these proceedings amusing throughout the trial and yesterday and today, showing disrespect to the court.
"I hope for the sake of all your families, the public and the people who have offered you jobs and apprenticeships and the sort that you all grow up. Every one of you deserves to be sent to youth detention.
"Some of you played a more active role in the violent disorder than others, some of you carried weapons, some wore balaclavas but the seriousness of this is the group nature of it.
"As a group you were all more threatening than you would have been as individuals."
He added if the group had been convicted of the more serious charge of section 18 wounding, they would all have gone to youth custody.
However he said he took a rehabilitative approach when sentencing them for violent disorder and further offences including witness intimidation, attempted robbery and conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
He told them: "Today is going to be a life changing or life defining event for you all. You all have a chance to go into a lawful and law abiding direction.
"I can almost feel the sense of relief from your families and supporters in the public gallery who all expected you to go to custody today. As I said earlier, you all richly deserve to."
The sentences are as follows:
Danny Yakub, 18, of Blackburn Road, Great Harwood - 18 month community order with 25 days rehabilitation activities and 180 hours of unpaid work, for violent disorder and attempted witness intimidation.
Connor Armstrong, 19, of Christ Church Street, Accrington - two year community order with 35 days rehabilitation activities and 200 hours of unpaid work for violent disorder.
James Meagre, 18, of Tinker Brook Close, Oswaldtwistle - two year community order with 25 days rehabilitation activities and 200 hours unpaid work for violent disorder.
Davis Hargreaves, 18, of Plantation Road, Accrington - two year community order with 35 days rehabilitation activity requirements and 200 hours unpaid work for violent disorder.
Kane Taylor, 20, of Ripon Road, Accrington, was given an 18 month community order with 25 days rehabilitation activities and 150 hours unpaid work for violent disorder.
Jay Slater, 18, of Fountains Way, Accrington - 18 month community order with 25 days rehabilitation activities and 150 hours unpaid work for violent disorder.
A 16-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons - 18 month youth referral order with 18 months supervision, 91 activity days a four month curfew and an intervention plan.
A 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons - 18 month youth referral order with 18 months supervision, 91 activity days a three month curfew and an intervention plan.
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