Edinburgh teen convicted of knifing drug dealer through heart

Attempted murder victim Peter Stewart. Picture: Vic Rodrick
Attempted murder victim Peter Stewart. Picture: Vic Rodrick
Have your say

AN Edinburgh teenager was today convicted of knifing an Aberdeen drug dealer through the heart.

A jury at the High Court in Livingston unanimously found the 17-year-old guilty of attempting to murder Peter Stewart after luring him into a close in the capital.

The Granton teenager – who can’t be named for legal reasons – was also found guilty by a unanimous verdict of stabbing Mr Stewart’s brother James, 46, during the same incident on 8 April last year.

Lord Glennie told the teenager, who has no previous convictions: “You’ve been convicted by this jury of both charges including a charge of attempted murder.

“I can’t sentence you now because I require to obtain a social work report about you before I can consider what the appropriate sentence is.

“I think you should be in no doubt that a custodial sentence is almost inevitable.”

He adjourned the case until Thursday 17 March at Edinburgh High Court and revoked bail, remanding the accused in custody until then.

The jury heard that Peter, 43, and his brother had driven down to the Wardieburn housing estate in Edinburgh with GBP6,500 in cash to buy 5.5 kilos of “rocky” – a type of cannabis resin – and a used car to take the drugs back to Aberdeen.

They were unaware that the man arranging the drug deal was an inmate in Shotts prison on a smuggled mobile phone for which his nephew had bought credit at a local shop that day.

The brothers became suspicious when their rendezvous with the dealer’s nephew – the accused – was changed at the last minute.

Instead of meeting him in a public café as they wanted, they were asked to meet him in the street so he could direct them to a house where the drugs were said to be.

When they followed him into a close in a block of flats in Wardieburn, the youth spun round and stabbed James in the side then, as Peter tried to defend his brother, knifed him through the heart.

As James ran away in terror to seek help, two other men joined the fight and attacked Peter who was bleeding profusely from a chest wound, and rifled his pockets robbing him of his mobile phone.

It was claimed in court that the whole incident was a pre-planned ambush by relatives of the drug dealer to rob the brothers of their cash.

However, Peter had left the money in the boot of his car for safety, claiming he wanted to inspect the cannabis before handing over the cash. The money was later recovered by police.

The jury heard that Peter “died” three times as ambulance paramedics and doctors at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary battled to save his life.

His near-fatal knife wound made a hole in the right ventricle of his heart, the chamber which pumps blood to the lungs and surgeons who carried out an emergency operation found his chest cavity was full of blood clots.

He spent a night in the intensive care unit before being moved to a high-dependency unit from which he was discharged seven days later.

He has been left unable to walk without the help of crutches after the arteries in his legs collapsed and is awaiting an operation to have new arteries grafted onto his heart to restore the blood supply.

His brother James, 45, had a stab wound measuring 4cm by 1.5cm which was closed with steri-strips and was released after being kept in overnight for observation.

In his closing speech advocate depute Paul Burns told the jury: “It was a set up. It screams about being a setup: calls from the prison; they know 6500 is being brought, change, take them round into the close.

“Two guys come out, turn around and stab, one – try to take him out with a blow. Stab the other one through the heart. Try to hit him a few more times. Rifle through his pockets.

“There’s nothing pointless about it. It’s an attempt to rob them of their cash because they were out of their depth.”

Giving evidence, Peter Stewart admitted to the jury that he had been “stupid” to get involved.

He spoke of his shame at pretending he had gone to Edinburgh to buy a car to prevent his wife and family learning he was dealing in drugs.

He said: “I was well out of my comfort zone to be honest. In some ways it’s a relief to get it out in the open.

“The truth is I got stabbed, my brother got stabbed and I nearly died.”

Scottish heritage: for stories on Scotland’s people, places and history >>