A moped rider who chopped off a teenager’s hand off with a machete in a late night street attack has been jailed.

Che Ambe, 22, of Caractacus Cottage View, Watford, struck "six or seven times" as his victim Tyler Stevens lay curled up on a grass verge to try and protect himself.

Ambe, who was found guilty of GBH on August 12, appeared at St Albans Crown Court this morning via video link from Bedford prison where Judge Michael Kay QC sentenced him to 15 years in jail, with an extension of five years, meaning he could be recalled to prison any time up to 2039.

Prosecutor Simon Wilshere said Mr Stevens was attacked with a machete or large knife in Long Elms, Abbots Langley, Sunday February 10 this year.

The victim, who is now aged 19, was with a friend and making their way back to the friend's house in Abbots Langley when a moped ridden by Ambe approached them.

Mr Wilshire said all three knew each other and did not get on.

As soon as they saw Ambe, they started to run, but Tyler Stevens slipped.

Mr Wilshere said: "He got up and ran between two vans, but slipped again. He fell onto the grass verge. Che Ambe started attacking him with a machete or a similar weapon.

"He was hit some six or seven times as he was curled up on the ground, trying to defend himself.

"The attack was as brief as it was savage - one completely severed Tyler Steven's left hand."

Mr Stevens did not realise his hand was severed until the attack stopped and Ambe fled, said the prosecutor.

The victim made his way to his friend's house leaving his severed left hand behind and the emergency services were called.

The court heard that Mr Stevens' left hand was found in the street. Doctors tried to reattach it, but their efforts came to nothing.

Another officer found a knife on the opposite side of the road. This knife was not the one used to attack Mr Stevens, but was one the victim said he was carrying for his own protection.

Mr Stevens told police that the recovered knife must have fallen from the waistband of his trousers as his ran.

Ambe, who was wearing body armour, was spotted afterwards on a moped and was arrested after the police deployed a 'stinger,' which punctured its tyres.

The prosecutor said that when questioned the next day, Che Ambe said he was not there.

But the jury was told that in a defence statement, he was claiming he acted in self-defence after Mr Stevens produced a knife and waved it at him.

In a police interview played to the jury, Mr Stevens said when he and his friend saw the defendant coming up to them on the moped, they ran.

He said: “We just ran - I knew he was looking for us. It was for stuff I had been dragged into. It was nothing to do with me."

When he slipped over on the grass verge, he said he could clearly see Che Ambe's face in a motorcycle helmet, which had no visor.

He said: "I could see his face through the helmet. I can picture it."

Asked to describe the attack, he said: "I thought I was going to die. It was a big long knife - he was hitting me constantly. It was a long knife. It was either a machete or a big sword thing.

"He hit me six or 7 seven times.

"I don't know why it stopped - maybe he saw my hand come off and thought that was too much. I was screaming."

He said he made his way to his friend's house. When the door was answered, he said: "Che's chopped my hand off."

Mr Stevens said he suffered nightmares about the attack.

Stephen Cooke, defending, said Ambe had been stabbed when he was 17. After that he said he never felt safe unless he had a knife with him. He said he had been expelled from school in year 8 and had been in care.

Jailing Ambe, who has 13 convictions for 27 previous offences, Judge Kay QC told him: "What lay behind what occurred is still obscure - at the trial we learned you and your group of friends did not get on with his group of friends.

"Tyler Stevens knew you were coming for him. He said he had a knife because he knew what you were capable of.

"You went straight for him. His first reaction was to run from you. He slipped and fell.

"You continued pursue him and you had with you a weapon. It had to be a very substantial weapon, which was very sharp,. You hit him a number of times with that weapon. One of these blows severed his left hand completely. This must have been a large machete.

"Tyler Stevens is left with a life-changing injury. It is evident how his life has changed. He still lives in fear of attack, not by you, but by your associates. He has moved from the area. He needs assistance with daily tasks, such as something as simple as cutting up his food."

Detective Constable Steve Mason, from the Three Rivers local crime unit, said: "I hope that Ambe spends his time behind bars reflecting on the pain and misery he has inflicted on the victim.

"This was a vicious incident which highlights the dangers of carrying knives. Hertfordshire Constabulary is committed to tackling knife crime so I hope this case provides reassurance to the public that we will do all we can to bring knife crime offenders to justice.

"Never hesitate to call the police if you suspect that someone you know is carrying a knife."