A TEENAGER is facing years behind bars after being convicted of attempting to murder a man who was stabbed 23 times and left with a knife sticking out of his back.
Alex Diogo Franca De Jesus (19) and another teenager ambushed the victim and repeatedly stabbed and slashed him with two knives in a desperate bid to escape an alleged £1,500 drugs debt.
The victim, who was aged 18 at the time, suffered two punctured lungs and lacerations to his liver, needed several blood transfusions and had an operation in Southampton Hospital to remove part of a blade from his back.
He has been left with what the Royal Court heard were ‘life-changing’ injuries.
The other teenager – 18-year-old Jayden Howard – had earlier admitted attempted murder and was not involved in the trial.
De Jesus denied the charge but was yesterday convicted by jurors by a majority of ten to two after a day and a half’s deliberation. Two other teenagers, who were charged with grave and criminal assault, were unanimously found not guilty.
The three were on trial over the attack at Le Geyt Estate, in St Saviour, on 9 January last year.
During the eight-day trial, De Jesus admitted having a knife with him on the night in question but denied having used it, and claimed Howard had snatched it from him to continue stabbing the victim when his own knife broke, and that Howard had inflicted all 23 stab wounds.
De Jesus admitted only to punching the victim and pleaded guilty to the lesser crime of grave and criminal assault.
The two unnamed teenagers claimed they were simply bystanders and had not known that an attack was to take place.
But the prosecution claimed it was a premeditated ambush and that they were all guilty.
Advocate Matthew Maletroit pointed out that De Jesus had a motive for the crime, as he owed the victim around £1,500 for drugs and had no means of paying.
Following the verdict, investigating officer Detective Constable Joao Carvalho said: It’s been a long, protracted investigation, with a whole host of officers assisting, so we are glad we have reached this point.’
Of the victim’s injuries, he said: ‘It is more than likely they will have life-long consequences. Any recovery will take a number of years at best.’
He added: ‘We hope this conviction sends out a strong message to anyone thinking of carrying a knife and we hope that the victim can find some solace from today’s verdict while he continues to recover from his injuries.’
Howard is due to be sentenced on Friday. A sentencing date for De Jesus is yet to be fixed.