A former child soldier in the Libyan army has been jailed for stabbing a teenager in a New Malden park.

Basel Giuma Elmaarfi, 18, of Robin Hood Way, Kingston, stabbed his 16-year-old victim with a kitchen knife in Blagdon Park on July 3 last year, in a row over a phone, a court heard.

His victim was found slumped outside KFC in New Malden High Street shortly after the attack. 

Four days later he carved the first initial of his street name on to the body of a man who had been beaten unconscious.

Elmaarfi, the son of a Libyan army general, was due to stand trial on Tuesday but changed his plea to guilty at the last minute at Kingston Crown Court.

He admitted unlawful wounding and possessing an offensive weapon.

Prosecutor Jonathan Loades said the altercation began after the victim took Elmaarfi’s iPhone.

Defence counsel Elroy Claxton said: "He [Elmaarfi] did not want to go home without his phone.

“Had he gone home without his phone we would not be here.

"The phone was put on the shoe of the victim and any attempt to try to take the phone, the victim was trying to kick.

"The victim is a man of some reputation in the area as being from a gang.

"He [Elmaarfi] was fearful that if he did go down to pick up the phone he would be kicked.”

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The stabbing happened on July 3 in Blagdon Park

Mr Claxton said the confrontation was filmed on another phone and Elmaarfi’s mother insulted.

He added: "This young man is remorseful over what happened. His mantra is he did not intend to hurt anybody. All he wanted was his phone."

But Recorder Silas Reid said provocation by the victim was still "not one shred" of a reason to stab him.

He said despite the long term effects of being recruited as a child soldier in his native Libya before coming to the UK, the "disturbing" crime Elmaarfi committed four days after the stabbing was an aggravating factor.

The teenager carved the letter "T" on to the abdomen of an unconscious man using a stick, representing his street name “Tabs”.

He was given a youth rehabilitation order for actual bodily harm.

Recorder Reid said: "That's a disturbing incident which casts worry over your future behaviour.

"Knives are a menace. You are very lucky, as is your victim [in] that he did not die.

"It's time for you to grow up and realise the consequences of your actions. Choose your friends and your activities more wisely than you have been.

"You are unlikely ever to be tried as leniently as you have been today. You are 18, you are a man. In the future you will be tried as the man that you are."

Elmaarfi was sentenced to 18 months in jail for unlawful wounding and nine months for possessing an offensive weapon, to run concurrently.

His victim was left with a perforated bowl and went on life support when he was admitted to St George's Hospital.

He spent five days in hospital but had no lasting damage from the single stab wound to his stomach.