Teen who stabbed man with ten-inch hunting knife in Rotherham town centre was groomed by drug dealers

Teen who stabbed man with ten-inch hunting knife in Rotherham town centre was groomed by drug dealers

By David Parker | 26/11/2021

Teen who stabbed man with ten-inch hunting knife in Rotherham town centre was groomed by drug dealers

 

A 16-year-old boy who stabbed a man in Rotherham town centre in a drug turf dispute was spared a long jail sentence after a judge concluded he had been groomed by dealers.

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, caused severe chest injuries when he “stabbed and slashed” his victim with a ten-inch hunting knife.

He was told by Judge Michael Slater that the starting point for sentencing if he had been an adult would be six years but given his age, vulnerability, time served on remand and his guilty plea, this could be greatly reduced.

The youth, who is from Rotherham but has moved away over fears he was criminally exploited, will instead serve a year in detention and a further year on licence for wounding with intent.

The judge said: “This was a dispute over drug dealing territory. It seems to have been a spontaneous altercation but it was a highly dangerous weapon.”

He said the defendant had “complex psychological issues” and was “extremely vulnerable” — adding: “From a young age, you have been coerced and then corrupted into behaving in the way you did by grooming gangs selling drugs.”

A witness told police how he had seen the victim, the defendant and another man arguing outside flats in Spring Walk — across the road from Tesco Extra — on July 9.

Judge Slater noted that while the defendant had a clean record, the 39-year-old victim was a prolific criminal, with 26 convictions for 82 offences dating back to 1996.

In the past three years, he had been sentenced for wounding, shoplifting and administering poison.

Recounting the witness’ evidence, the judge said: “The victim was shouting something similar to: ‘You are not to be in my spot.’ He and the other man were arguing over drug dealing territory.

“The victim was seen to walk towards the path down the site of the flats saying: ‘Come on, let’s sort it out’.”

As the victim walked away, the witness said, the defendant had pulled out a “massive, hunting-style knife” with a blade of at least ten inches and “stabbed and slashed” him in the back and side while calling him a “p****”.

The judge said the attack had caused “grave injury”, including a stab wound to the chest which caused partial shearing of the rib and lung and laceration to an artery.

His injuries were treated as a “code red alert” when he was taken to A&E.

After being arrested, the defendant made no comment during police interview.

He pleaded guilty to a count of Section 18 wounding with intent at a hearing on October 8 but denied a second count of the same offence and this plea was accepted by the prosecution.

Mitigating, Mr Harry MacDonald said youth had been diagnosed as autistic and had suffered a high degree of trauma growing up.

He said he had complex psychiatric needs, some of which could be linked to commission of the offence.

Judge Slater told the youth: “It’s thought you’re beginning to show tentative signs of intending to rehabilitate yourself.”

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