Visibly distressed, the parents said the sentence of two years detention passed on two of the defendants and six months given to another was a shambles and nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Ann Ridley, the boy's mother, said: "We are absolutely disgusted with the sentences . . . and feel we have been let down by the law. Our son suffered a fractured skull and had to be operated on for a blood clot on the brain. He came within minutes of death and still hasn't recovered. He will be scarred for life."
Her husband, Peter, added: "Those responsible should have got as long as four years although no sentence will ever really compensate for what they did."
The couple's outburst came minutes after John Fordham, the Inner London Crown Court judge, condemned what he described as a "wicked pack attack" on their 16-year-old son, David, and one of his friends.
"It was a cowardly vicious attack, and not content with beating these people up you robbed them leaving them on the ground," he told the two 17-year-olds and their 15-year-old campanion, none of whom can be named for legal reasons.
"This kind of behaviour sickens decent people and for those who go in for these kind of things the consequences are going to be grave," he added.
The three, from Streatham, south-west London, were all convicted last year of robbery and causing actual bodily harm. They were part of a gang that set upon the pair as they were leaving a leisure centre.Reuse content