WARNING: Brave Preston knife attack victim Eve shares graphic pictures of her stab wounds to deter youngsters from carrying knives - as her attacker avoids custody
A teenager stabbed in a Preston park by a jealous 16-year-old girl has shared graphic photographs of her injuries as she urged young people in the city to think of the consequences of carrying blades.
Eve Hewitson-Cross was just 17 when she was knifed in her back in Levensgarth Park in Fulwood, while waiting to meet her friends to go to a youth group.
She suffered a punctured lung as the blade penetrated millimetres from her spine, and had to be helped by passers by as she bled profusely.
The case has chilling parallels to the unprovoked stabbing of teenager Jodie Chesney, 17, in a park in east London on the same evening on March 1 last year.
Eve's attacker made admissions hours later in interview, but it took seven months for her to be charged and summonsed to court - for which Judge Philip Parry has demanded an explanation from prosecutors.
The delay, coupled with the defendant's age, good character, the current Covid-19 crisis and her vulnerability due to a traumatic life event before the stabbing, meant she avoided a custodial term.
Instead, she was given a two year rehabilitation order, a 10 year restraining order, and will spend three months on a tag.
The girl will be strictly monitored by the YOT, be subject to police surveillance and 25 hours supervision per week, and must complete a knife crime programme.
The Post lost a legal challenge to identify her - though she can be named when she turns 18 in five weeks.
Today Eve, now 19, revealed the devastating impact on the lives of herself and parents, Rebecca Hewitson and David Cross.
She forced herself to go back to college six days after the attack, but found her peers were 'judging and criticising' her.
She also chose to read her victim statement over Skype in court, so her attacker could hear how she has since had to leave her course, ruining her career plans to become a pharmacist.
Now taking medication for PTSD and panic attacks, she said: "People are dying everyday because of knife crime. It’s wrong. Kids like the girl that attacked me think it’s OK.
"That’s why I want people to see the injuries I had. These weren’t just scratches; they are serious deep knife wounds.
"I was attacked completely by surprise – I had no chance at all.
"I lost huge amounts of blood, suffered a collapsed lung, and was very nearly paralysed.
"If it wasn’t for two people who were passing by – Mr and Mrs Anderson – who helped me, I don’t know what would have happened. I’m really thankful to them, and the paramedics who looked after me. They saved my life.
"I’m always nervous of being on my own. I am not the same person I was and I don’t think I can ever be again. When someone can take a knife out to specifically attack you, you realise anything could happen, and that’s scary.
"My mum, dad and sister have really struggled, mentally and emotionally. Mum and dad have had to take lots of time off work to support me."
Preston Crown Court heard the 16-year-old, who was two days into a withdrawal from ketamine and ecstasy, was unhappy at Eve's perceived friendship with a boy.
Prosecuting, Joshua Bowker said she went to the park armed with a large kitchen knife in her waistband, grabbed Eve's head and pushed her to the ground.
She fell to her knees and felt blows to her back, before the defendant's boyfriend yelled at her to 'get off'.
The couple walked away, and the victim did not realise she been stabbed until she felt wetness on her back.
Her clothing, including her underwear, became soaked with blood.
She spent three days in hospital, where medics found she had suffered two wounds, measuring 3cm and 4cm.
Eve wants her story to encourage the authorities to toughen up knife crime sentences.
She says: " At the time Boris Johnson had made a big thing out of how knife crime would be tackled seriously, and we were reassured by that, but now we feel it isn’t true.
"What I want from all of this is for the system to be changed away from just looking after defendants. I was only a kid when this happened as well.
"I understand the judge is restricted by sentencing guidelines, and I want to believe that he understood the impact this had on me and my family.
"I want the sentences to fit the crime, and to acknowledge the impact not only on victims but the wider impact on their families as well.
"Sentences have to focus on rehabilitation, but should also act as a deterrent, to stop people being killed and injured, and lives ruined.
"People like her need rehabilitating – it isn’t normal for a 16-year-old to think it’s acceptable to stab someone in the back, and her behaviour needs to change because she obviously needs help. She remains a danger, but as she can’t be named until she’s 18, this means no one knows who she is and what she’s done."
Sentencing, Judge Parry said he'd had a stark choice to make between incarceration during the current pandemic, and the youth offending team's strong recommendation for a non custodial sentence, but the facts combined allowed him to "take an exceptional course."
He described Eve as a "very brave young woman" and told the teen: "You heard her today describe how she was drenched in her own blood, particularly her knickers and pants, as the blood cascaded down her back.
"I've seen photos of both those wounds. They are horrendous to look at.
"The consequences of what you did were laid out very clearly when she read her statement. She describes the mental effects are in fact worse than the physical effects."
He warned the girl if she breached the order he would reconsider his decision, adding: "Nobody should be under any illusion the sentence is a light sentence at all - it isn't. It is incredibly intensive.
" I've resisted sending you to detention today for two primary reasons. Your mental health, and how it affects your welfare, is something that's been plaguing you for many years, but also the delay in bringing this matter to court has had an influence on the type of sentence I've passed.
"You couldn't have been closer to going to custody today."