TEENAGERS who ambushed a boy and left him in a critical condition before going on the run have been sent to a youth offenders institute for a total of 13 years.

Ben Goodspeed knifed the 17-year-old victim in the chest as he lay defenceless on the ground and Tate Heeney smashed him on the back of the head with a wooden baton - believed to be a chair leg - in the attack in Osborne Street, Colchester, in January.

The pair had hid behind a building near the bus station before setting upon the victim as he trailed behind a large group of his friends.

They launched the attack after he slipped to the ground.

The victim was first rushed to Colchester Hospital and then a specialist unit in Basildon because of the severe injuries to his chest which included extensive nerve damage and a punctured lung.

He also lost two litres of blood.

Police launched a manhunt for the pair after the incident and directly appealed for the two of them to hand themselves in.

When they searched Heeney's house in The Crescent, Great Horkesley, hours after the attack they found remnants of torched clothes.

They were on the run for 11 days before arriving at Colchester Police Station together and with their mothers.

Goodspeed, 19, and Heeney, 18, both admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Ipswich Crown Court heard the victim - who is now 18 - has lost the fine motor skills in his right hand meaning he has had to give up on his dream of joining the Army.

He also has extensive scars to the torso.

The exact motive of the attack has not been revealed except that Goodspeed, of Monkwick Avenue, Colchester, was out for revenge against the victim and Heeney played a subsidiary part.

Judge Rupert Overbury heard how Goodspeed had ADHD and Heeney autism but jailed them for seven and six years respectively.

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He said two lengthy sentences had to be handed out to act as a deterrent to other young people and that the public and Parliament have had enough of knife crime.

"The affects of knife crime are long lasting - the victim has lost his dream and it seems will suffer potentially lifelong nerve damage," he said.

"Both of you acted together to cause him the injuries he suffered - it doesn't matter if it lasted one second or one minute.

"Only one of you carried the knife but both of you knew what was going to happen."

Speaking after sentencing, investigating officer Detective Constable Danielle Markoutsis said:  “This was a targeted, brutal attack and the motive for this senseless and violent incident still remains unclear.

“The victim was extremely fortunate to have survived and it has left a lasting emotional and physical impact, which he continues to face on a daily basis.

“Hopefully knowing Goodspeed and Heeney have been taken off the streets for some time will give him and his family some comfort.”