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23 April 2012, 10:59
A 15 year old lashed out with a knife after going to a park to sell cannabis, leaving the victim needing to be airlifted to a London hospital for emergency surgery.
The teenager had been a hard working schoolboy with no involvement with drugs until he became obsessed with raising money to visit his mentally ill and estranged mother in Bangladesh, a court was told.
Unable to obtain paid work, he agreed to sell cannabis for a dealer, but after being robbed he carried a knife with him for protection.
On July 19 last year, the day after the robbery, he went to a park at Farley Hill, Luton, believing he was going to sell some cannabis.
But, it is claimed, he was then assaulted, and pulled out the knife and stabbed his attacker three times.
One wound penetrated the victim's neck, causing the blade to break off as it struck bone, another had pierced the bowel, said prosecutor, Charles Ward-Jackson.
The student was arrested and originally charged with attempted murder, but he pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to wounding with intent and possession of the knife. The attempted murder charge was dropped.
On Friday he was sentenced to 18 months detention.
Judge Michael Kay QC told him: "Turning to selling cannabis was an extraordinary step to take for someone like you. You then exposed yourself to the harsh realities that may face a drug dealer. You were seen as a target by boys bigger than you.
"You armed yourself with a knife because you anticipated trouble, and if there was trouble you were going to draw it.
"There is considerable public concern about the carrying of knives."
But the Judge said he had read reports about the teenager's severe anxiety and depression and his vulnerability in custody, which he had to take into consideration in sentencing.
"But I cannot decide that a custodial sentence is not appropriate to be consistent with my public duty."
Warwick Aleeson, defending said the youth had reacted in self defence but had gone 'over the top'.
"He thought that if he was attacked he could show the knife and scare people away, and that decision has changed his life.
"Then when he was attacked without provocation he frantically felt that he needed to defend himself.
"He is a quiet, hard working, diligent young man, and this was entirely out of character. He does not take drugs and was doing well academically.
"He became pre occupied the feelings about his mother who he had last seen in a mental institution," said the barrister.
Prosecutor Mr. Ward-Jackson said the victim was in hospital for six days, and needed surgery and blood transfusions. He then went to live in Pakistan.