• The 17-year-old boy wanted to stop working for the drug dealer and hoped to concentrate on college studies, prosecutors said
  • The 23-year-old victim needed life-saving surgery after being stabbed twice in the stomach
  • The judge said the teen was "trafficked," and the circumstances of the case reduced his overall sentence

A 17-year-old in England who wanted to quit the drug trade to focus on school has been sentenced to two years and nine months behind bars after stabbing his drug dealer boss.

Elijah Cowles, of Springfield Road, Chaddesden, left the 23-year-old victim critically wounded after stabbing the dealer boss twice in the stomach on July 11, 2021, the Daily Record reported.

Following the incident, the unnamed victim needed life-saving surgery before he was transferred to a critical trauma ward.

The dealer boss later suffered a life-changing heart attack that left him with permanent brain damage. But earlier this week, Derby Crown Court heard that this was not a direct result of the attack by Cowles.

"Elijah Cowles was 17 at the time of the offense. He was in the employment of the victim, who was responsible for running a drugs line, and the defendant was employed in his capacity as a drug runner," prosecutor Robert Underwood told the court.

Underwood said it appeared that Cowles "wished to stop doing the drug running and simply wanted to concentrate on college studies" but that this was not met with approval by the drug dealer boss.

"This defendant had been arrested and spoken to by police in relation to drug-dealing matters and it followed that the victim decided to ascertain from the defendant what he had said to the police and that seemed to be the source of a dispute between two of them," Underwood continued.

Cowles and the victim then exchanged a series of messages and voicemails that can be described as being "threats," according to the prosecutor.

"It is against that background that we move to the day in question," Underwood said.

There was no security camera footage of the incident. Cowles was interviewed the day after the stabbing and only replied "no comment" when questioned by authorities, Derbyshire Live reported.

Prosecutors said Cowles used "excessive self-defense" and acknowledged that the teen was "very concerned to keep his mother free of any potential violence."

Judge Shaun Smith said that Cowles was "trafficked."

"I do genuinely feel that having looked at the victim's personal statement, not how I would normally look at it, this case is very, very unusual," the judge continued.

According to the judge, the "extremely unusual" circumstances of the case don't give Cowles an excuse for the crime, but "all the factors in this case, unusually, point in his favor."

"Seldom have I seen a case where the mitigating features are so substantial in the way in which they reduce the overall sentence," Smith explained.

Cowles was sentenced to two years and nine months in custody after pleading guilty to one count of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Representative image Credit: Pixabay