A YOUTH who stabbed a man in the heart after a drugs deal turned sour was jailed for seven years today.
A court heard that the 16-year-old who attacked brothers and Peter and James Stewart had been “manipulated” into the operation by his uncle who is a serving prisoner.
A judge told the teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, “You were convicted last month of an assault on James Stewart and much more seriously of an attempted murder of his brother Peter Stewart.”
Lord Glennie said: “On the evidence which the jury must have accepted this was a vicious attack with a knife which you were carrying.”
The judge told him at the High Court in Edinburgh: “I accept it was a single blow from you, but Mr Stewart could well have died.”
He said: “I take account, particularly, of the fact you are still only 17 and have no relevant criminal record.”
Lord Glennie said that but for those factors he would have been facing a much longer sentence.
The judge said a sentence of detention was inevitable, but added: “I am impressed by your intention to use the time in custody constructively. I hope it will keep you away from a criminal lifestyle in the future.
Lord Glennie told the youth: “You accept it was a drugs deal which went wrong.”
But the judge added: “You appear to have been brought into this by your uncle.”
The teenager, now 17, had attacked his victims at an address in Wardieburn Street West, in Edinburgh, on April 8 last year after the brothers had driven down to the housing estate with £6500 in cash planning to buy cannabis before ferrying the drugs back to Aberdeen.
The youth had denied assaulting James Stewart, 46, to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement and attempting to murder his younger brother Peter, 44, but was found guilty after a trial.
The younger brother told the trial that he was unaware that the man giving them directions to where the exchange was to take place was an inmate in Shotts prison or that the teenager who met them was his nephew.
He said the youth had led them into a close at a block of flats before he spun round and attacked his brother.
He said: “All I saw was the glint, definitely metal, and my brother falling to one side. As soon as I saw it happening I moved forward to try and defend my brother.”
The younger brother said he was then stabbed through the lung into the heart severing the right ventricle.
He said others came out onto the landing and proceeded “to join in the action”. He said: “It was like it was already exactly set up.”
“By this time I knew that I’d been stabbed because I slipped on my own blood. I felt a coldness,” he said.
Paramedics and medical staff battled to save the stabbing victim following the attack. Jurors heard he “died” three times during the ordeal.
Defence counsel Brian McConnachie QC said of the youth: “There is no dispute that this was a matter not of his own making. He was manipulated, in some senses, into this situation by his uncle who is a serving prisoner in Shotts prison.”
He said the relative seemed to have contacted the teenager without the knowledge of his parents. “He has got him involved in this matter and foolishly he ended up going along with it.” he said.
Mr McConnachie said: “He deeply regrets the fact that injury was caused.”
He said the teenager realised there was no option but a custodial sentence and wanted to use the time to learn skills.