A man was handed a life sentence for stabbing his friend, who would have died if his neighbours did not come to the rescue.

Nathan Watson, 26, of no fixed address, was found guilty of attempting to murder a 30-year-old man in Welham Road, Tooting at Blackfriars Crown Court.

The court heard Watson and the victim were good friends and spent the day together on May 9 last year.

But as they walked along Welham Road, near the junction of Freshwater Road, Watson suddenly stabbed the victim in the neck during a pre-planned attack.

He severed 80 per cent of his jugular vein, stabbed him another three times in the arm and neck before fleeing.

A friend, accompanied by two neighbours who came out of their house, gave first aid to the victim and called police.

Watson was arrested on June 15 following enquiries by Wandsworth Police, assisted by officers from the Met's Operation Artemis who locate offenders evading capture.

Initially the victim was too scared to speak with police, but in October 2012 Watson threatened the victim's brother revealing fresh evidence and he was charged in November 2012.

The court heard Watson always carried a knife and nicknamed it Ugly Betty, which the judge described as "macabre."

Watson, who has previous convictions for violence, was a gang member and attacked the victim to enhance his standing.

The two neighbours who helped save the victims life were given a reward by the court.

Detective Superintendent Penny Banham, of Wandsworth Police, said: "I would like to offer many thanks to the members of the public who rendered first aid to the victim at the scene.

"I have no doubt that due to their efforts the victim survived this terrible attack.

"The sentence handed down to Watson should serve as a warning to those who are linked to gangs and who think that carrying and using a knife is acceptable - it is not.

"We work closely with our counterparts at Wandsworth Council to engage and divert young people from becoming embroiled in a gang which can lead to a life of crime and violence."

Watson, who was sentenced on Thursday July 25, will serve a minimum of 12 years in prison.