Teenage footballer who had trials for Arsenal left man with life-threatening injuries after Norfolk stabbing

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd

A 15-year-old talented footballer, who had trials for Arsenal, stabbed a man leaving him with 'life threatening' injuries after he was trafficked to sell drugs for a county line drugs gang.

Douglas Dickson, 39, was stabbed in the back, chest and abdomen, which left him with his intestines hanging out after the attack on April 17, last year, after a drugs deal went wrong and Mr Dickson feared he was going to die, Norwich Crown Court heard,

William Carter, prosecuting, said Mr Dickson was a regular user of crack cocaine and heroin at the time, and following the confrontation in Great Yarmouth Mr Dickson was taken to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston with 'life threatening' injuries as one of the stab wounds had come close to his heart and he lost alot of blood.

He had visited a property used bv a county line drug gang to buy drugs, but did not have enough money.

After leaving the address the victim was followed by the defendant who then assaulted him on Camden Road.

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Mr Douglas was stabbed multiple times suffering serious injuries to his stomach.

After the assault, he staggered to Ordnance Road before collapsing.

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Paramedics attended, treating the victim at the scene.

The 15-year-old was arrested at Great Yarmouth railway station and was found to have more than £700 in cash on him.

He was identified as the primary suspect after blood found on his jacket matched that of the victim,

In an impact statement, Mr Dickson said that he had now been forced to move away from the area and said: 'I am not the person I was before this happened.'

The defendant, now 16, appeared over a video link from Cookham Wood, and had originally been charged with attempted murder but during his trial offered a plea to an alternative charge of wounding with intent, which was accepted by the prosecution.

Matthew McNiff, defending, said the teenager had no choice but to bring the drugs to Norfolk and said that he had been trafficked; 'He did not have a choice, He was sent to deal drugs for others and he will now pay the price.'

He said that the youth had shown promise as a footballer and had trials for Arsenal and said: 'That future is now not open to him.'

Judge Stephen Holt imposed a four and half year detention order and accepted he had been recruited to sell drugs for a county lines gang.

He praised the medics who had saved Mr Dickson said: 'He was extremely fortunate those medics managed to save his life.'

However he accepted the teenager was also a victim himself as he had been recruited by the county lines gang to come to Norfolk to sell drugs: 'There is no doubt you were recruited and groomed and given cash.'

After the hearing, Detective Sergeant Mark Scott, from Great Yarmouth CID, said: 'This was a nasty assault which left the victim with serious injuries and in intensive care for 10 days.

'The defendant was 15 at the time of the incident and was himself a victim by being exploited by a county line drug gang.

'The teenager has rightly been punished for the crime and we hope this sentence serves as the start in his rehabilitation and moving away from a life of crime.'

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