COUNTY NEWS: Drug-dealing brothers sentenced for serious knife crimes

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Two drug-dealing step brothers have been detained for serious knife crimes - one of which resulted in the death of a teenager over a £20 drug dispute.

Samuel Morgan, 20, of Adelaide Road, Chichester, was handed a four-year sentence over the death of Luke Jeffrey, who was 18 when he died from a single knife wound on March 11, 2016 in Chichester.

Luke Jeffrey died of a single stab wound to the chest on March 11, 2016

Luke Jeffrey died of a single stab wound to the chest on March 11, 2016

In passing sentence today, judge Christine Laing QC said she had to respect the fact that a jury had earlier cleared Morgan of both murder and manslaughter, and was sentencing him for possession of the knife only, calling Mr Jeffrey’s death over a £20 cannabis dispute an ‘utterly senseless loss of life’.

Luke Jeffrey’s mother, Emily, gave an emotional tribute to her son in court, saying the family’s lives had forever been ‘torn apart’. Read the tribute here

Morgan was also sentenced to a further two years, to run consecutively, for his part in a separate incident on April 19, 2015, in which relation Brandon Attwater, 18, stabbed Simon Wilmott in the stomach.

Attwater, of Winterbourne Road, Chichester, who was 16 at the time, was detained for five years at a sentencing at Hove Crown Court today, Tuesday, February 28.

Mr Wilmott, a Chichester College student like Mr Jeffrey, required life-saving surgery after being stabbed by Attwater, remaining in intensive care for three days.

The court heard how Morgan arranged a fake drug deal with Mr Wilmott to lure him close to Chichester Festival Theatre, so he, Attwater and another, unidentified man, could set on him in a pre-planned attack.

At an earlier trial, Morgan was found not guilty of knowing Attwater had been carrying a knife or had been planning to stab Mr Wilmott in the attack, in April, 2015.

The court heard however how minutes after the stabbing, Morgan sent Mr Wilmot a text message saying ‘enjoy the knife’.

Attwater had pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at an earlier hearing and was handed a five-year sentence by judge Laing QC.

Sentencing Morgan over the death of Mr Jeffrey, from Bognor, judge Laing QC said: “Given a jury found you not guilty of either murder or manslaughter, I have to sentence you on the basis that you possessed the knife not intending to do Luke Jeffrey any serious harm.

“But by taking the knife the risk of serious harm was very real and this action by you ended with tragic consequences.”

Morgan was sentenced to a total of six years; four for possession of a knife in a public place on March 11, 2016; and two years for unlawful wounding on April 19, 2015.

Both Morgan and Attwater, who the court heard are step brothers, will serve their sentences at a young offenders’ institute because of their age.

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