A young man who attacked his ex-girlfriend armed with a knife as she walked from a bus stop has been spared jail by a judge.

One reason Judge Philip Bartle QC gave for not sending 21 year old Scott Worsdale immediately to prison was because experts had said custody would have an “extremely detrimental” effect on him.

But the judge at Luton Crown Court told the defendant: "This is a watershed in your life and I fervently hope you will not act in this way again."

Prosecutor Harry Warner described to the court how Worsdale had split up with his girlfriend in late 2015, and shortly after on January 5, 2016, he waited for her in Bushey Grove Road, Bushey.

She got off her bus and was met by her sister but Worsdale approached her from behind and held a knife to her neck.

"She naturally screamed and her sister attempted to get him away. He threw the victim to the ground and fled," said the barrister.

"She had a cut on her head and her sister had a cut on her hand.”

The girls could not identify the attacker but Worsdale was arrested nearby. He initially said he had seen the two girls being attacked by some men but later admitted responsibility.

Mr Warner said the attack had affected both young women emotionally and psychologically, leaving them scared and shocked.

Worsdale, of Artisan Crescent, St Albans, pleaded guilty to wounding, assault causing actual bodily harm and possessing a bladed article.

The trainee gardener was given a 20-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with a three month night time curfew and 175 hours' unpaid work.

The judge also imposed a three-year restraining order not to contact the sisters or go to the area where they live.

Yogain Chandarana, defending, said: "To put it quite frankly, both the victims and the defendant are sorely harmed by his actions that evening.

"When he was asked about it he said he was sorry for what he had done. He used to love her to bits but he was not very good at telling people what he felt."

The defence lawyer said in the intervening 16 months he had made no contact with his ex-partner or her family.

He said: "Psychologists and probations officers have expressed significant concerns about placing him in a prison type establishment, and it is my submission that he can be dealt with other than by an immediate custodial sentence."

Judge Bartle said: "You decided to lie in wait for her and took a knife with you. You terrified her. This has had a profound psychological effect on her and her sister."

But he said he had read reports which gave an insight into the defendant's intellectual capacity and his mental health problems and depression.

"I have considered this case very carefully indeed and I am persuaded the sentence can be suspended," he said.