A teenager who knifed two men in a gang-related street fight in Tunbridge Wells has been locked up for five and a half years.

Deon Awodeyi, 18, stabbed one man in the lower back and the other in the forearm.

A court heard the victims, aged 19 and 22, claimed not to have known their assailant, who was hiding his face with a black scarf or bandana.

Deon Awodeyi. Picture: Kent Police

But witnesses said all three had once been in the same gang, and the fight had been pre-arranged as there was ‘history and bad-feeling’ between them after a falling out.

Awodeyi, who is known by the street name Flex, claimed he had acted in self-defence but admitted two offences of wounding with intent and one of possessing an offensive weapon.

The knife, which had a 10in blade, was later found hidden under a doormat at his home in Ferndale, Tunbridge Wells.

Two months before the attack he had been made subject to a four-month referral order for offences of common assault and criminal damage.

Maidstone Crown Court in Kent heard yesterday that George Tween and Scott Rudden were among a group of 14 people in the town just before 8pm on December 14 last year.

Both men told police they were stabbed without warning as they walked along Dudley Road.

Prosecutor Mary Jacobson said: “Mr Tween felt a sharp pain in his lower back, fell to the ground and from that position he could see the assailant stab Mr Rudden.

“I hope this sentence will give Awodeyi the wakeup call he needs to change his damaging behaviour and turn his life around upon release.” – detective constable Shelley Rainer from Kent Police

“He got up and ran towards the assailant who then ran away. Mr Tween and Mr Rudden ran off and Mr Tween found he was soaked in blood.”

The court heard Mr Rudden told police he saw a man walking towards them with a kitchen knife and he and his friend were stabbed.

However, other witnesses gave ‘a slightly different perspective’, said Miss Jacobson.

One heard a commotion and a man shouting ‘Come on bruv, come at me’, while another spoke of it being an arranged fight, with Mr Tween, known as T,  overheard saying ‘It’s supposed to be one on one so drop your pole and let’s have it out’.

Awodeyi then pulled a knife from his jogging bottoms and lunged towards Mr Rudden, cutting his arm. The wound exposed the muscle underneath.

Miss Jacobson said the teenager, who was 17 at the time, was also shouting encouragement with the words ‘Come here then, don’t keep walking away’.

Mr Tween had his back to Awodeyi when he was knifed. He spent several days in hospital recovering from surgery to his 4cm-long and penetrative cut.

Len Furlong, defending, said events that evening were not ‘cut and dry’. There was ‘bad blood’ between the three and it was not a random attack.

He claimed Mr Tween and Mr Rudden were aggressive towards Awodeyi and he was ushered along the road out of sight of any CCTV cameras.

Judge Adele Williams

Mr Furlong said Mr Tween was then distracting the teenager with a fight while Mr Rudden ‘sneaked up’ from behind and swung at him.

“They were part of a group that went out looking for the defendant for a fight. There was a reason for the attack. It was not a random attack by a man they didn’t know, as they told police,” he added.

“He may have acted with excessive self-defence but there was an element of self-defence.”

Sentencing Awodeyi to youth custody, Judge Adele Williams said there was a degree of premeditation by the carrying of the knife.

“You stabbed two victims, one in the back and one in the arm. You had a black scarf or bandana covering your face and you were armed with a large kitchen knife you had taken to the scene.

“It is quite apparent to me that this was gang-related or rivalries within one group or gang. It is apparent there had been some talk of a meeting to have a fight.”

Shelley Rainer,  detective constable at Kent Police, said: “Awodeyi is a danger to others.

“He harbours violent tendencies and doesn’t consider the consequences of his actions.

“I hope this sentence will give Awodeyi the wakeup call he needs to change his damaging behaviour and turn his life around upon release.”

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