TWO teenagers who left a man for dead and in a pool of blood after a 'senseless and unprovoked' knife attack on the streets of Oxford have been jailed.

The public gallery was packed at Oxford Crown Court this morning as Ethan Broster, 18, and a 16-year old who cannot be named for legal reasons were jailed for more than 20 years between them for the night of violence.

Sentencing, Judge Sir John Royce said were it not for the intervention of student paramedics living nearby the boys would be looking at a life term for murder instead of attempted murder and GBH.

He said: "It is plain on the evidence that but for their speedy and courageous intervention Barry Sheldon [the victim] would have met a horrid death at the road side.

"He had completely severed an artery, he had lost about half his body's blood.

"Had Mr Sheldon died on the verdicts of the jury you would both have been convicted of murder and would be subject to an automatic life sentence."

Both men had denied attempted murder of the stabbing victim as well as attempted robbery on another victim earlier the same night.

The 16-year old was convicted unanimously of attempted murder, attempted robbery and admitted part-way through their trial threatening with a knife.

Broster was cleared of attempted murder but convicted of a lesser count of grievous bodily harm with intent and attempted robbery.

Despite press requests to lift the anonymity order protecting the identity of the 16-year old the High Court Judge said there was no public interest in naming him and turned down the application.

During the trial which was held in April jurors were told how the boys spotted their first victim - Benjamin Fairfax, a doctor at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital, at Old Road at about 11pm on November 22 last year.

Mr Fairfax was 'threatened with a knife' and had his glasses snatched from him, only managing to escape by banging on the side of a passing bus that stopped to let him on.

Not long after at Wood Farm Road, the group spotted their second victim Barry Sheldon, who had been out playing pool with friends that night.

He was set upon and left lying in a pool of blood after a vicious knife attack led by the 16-year old assailant.

As a result of the onslaught Mr Sheldon suffered stab wounds to his hands, arms and abdomen which caused a laceration to his liver, an injury to his lung and a severed artery. He was treated by paramedics from South Central Ambulance Service and taken to hospital.

At the end of the trial two other teenage boys were cleared of any wrong-doing.

Victim personal statements read to the court at the sentencing hearing yesterday revealed how both victims had since suffered long-lasting psychological and physical trauma as a result of their ordeal.

In mitigation at the hearing Michael Borrelli QC warned that a lengthy time in prison for his client - the 16-year old boy - would risk him becoming 'institutionalised' and asked for a short a sentence as possible.

He added that the boy was very young - just 15 - at the time of the night of violence.

Broster's defence barrister, Christopher Paxton QC, said that his client also lacked maturity and now accepted his actions and his responsibility for what he had done.

Ultimately, the 16-year old was jailed for nine years for attempted murder to run consecutively with concurrent sentences of one year for attempted robbery and two years for the knife threat, totalling 11 years.

Broster was jailed for nine years for GBH to run consecutive with one year for attempted robbery, totalling 10 years.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing yesterday investigating officer Detective Sergeant Kevin Parsons, of Force CID based at Oxford, called the violence 'senseless and unprovoked.'

He said: “The convictions of Broster and the 16-year-old boy show that Thames Valley Police takes an extremely serious stance on knife crime, and will investigate fully and bring anyone who carries out attacks such as this to justice.

“These crimes were completely senseless and unprovoked and both victims were intimidated by the offenders.

"One suffered serious injuries and if it wasn’t for a member of the public helping him it is highly likely that he would have died.

“I would like to pay tribute to the victims for supporting our investigation as well as the witnesses who came forward and I hope the sentencing today brings some closure to the victims.

“I would add if you are carrying a knife you stand the chance of seriously injuring or killing someone and devastating that persons’ family, and you may also be injured yourself.”