A teenager knifed a schoolboy in the back in a “cowardly” attack in front of the victim’s horrified girlfriend.
The 16-year-old pupil required a major blood transfusion after being attacked at a bus stop in Queens Drive, West Derby.
A 17-year-old boy, and an 18-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, stood trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
They faced charges of wounding with intent and unlawful wounding over the 3.50pm incident on September 6 last year.
But after the opening day of the trial, the 17-year-old defendant today admitted the lesser offence of unlawful wounding.
Prosecutors then decided to drop the more serious allegation and not to proceed with the case against his friend.
Jurors previously heard the victim was walking home from school with his girlfriend, 17, and her younger cousin.
The boy got involved in a row with another 18-year-old man, after he called out his girlfriend’s name, while getting into a car.
Frank Dillon, prosecuting, said the victim took offence, which led to a confrontation, when they wrestled and punched one another.
He said the 17-year-old, who was sitting in the Ford Fiesta with the 18-year-old driver, got out and walked up behind the victim.
The schoolboy’s girlfriend saw the 17-year-old lift up his top and pull out a brown handled knife from his waistband.
Mr Dillon said: “She shouted ‘don’t you dare’ at the male, who then plunged the knife once into the victim’s back.”
He said the driver got out of the car and joined in the assault, when the victim fell to the ground and was repeatedly kicked.
The pair got back inside the vehicle as the victim – unaware he had been stabbed – continued to fight with the other 18-year-old.
They ended up brawling on the bonnet of the car, before the 18-year-old joined his friends in the car and they sped away.
Mr Dillon said the 18-year-old who first fought with the victim was not charged, as his actions were arguably self-defence.
The boy was treated at the scene by an off-duty paramedic and doctor, before being taken to hospital by ambulance.
The knife, with a four-inch blade, was later thrown by a male from the car, towards a cricket field off Sandfield Walk.
The victim’s blood was found on the blade, while his 17-year-old attacker’s DNA was recovered on the handle.
Neither the 18-year-old driver nor the 17-year-old attacker made any comment during police interviews.
But in a defence statement the attacker denied being at the scene and claimed secondary transfer of DNA.
Mr Dillon, who called his attack “cowardly”, said his guilty plea was accepted based on the victim’s medical evidence.
He said: “The wound he received though nasty, with copious bleeding requiring three pint [blood]transfusions, was relatively shallow.
“It was repaired with one or two sutures. There is no lasting physical damage and he has made a full recovery.”
Mr Dillon said the decision was taken with the agreement of prosecution lawyers, the victim and his parents.
The judge, Recorder Peter Birkett, QC, said he required a pre-sentence report because of the culprit’s young age.
Michael Bagley, defending the boy, said his client was of previous good character and only 16 at the time.
He said he worked as a builder and invited the judge to allow him conditional bail until his sentencing.
Recorder Birkett agreed, but warned: “This is a serious offence, to which he has pleaded guilty.
“The likelihood is it’s going to be a custodial sentence, he must understand that.”
He made the boy subject to a home curfew, between 8pm and 5.45am, until his sentencing on April 9.