A DRUG dealer caught with a stash of heroin after he was stabbed by fellow dealers has escaped a jail term after 'turning his life around.'

Leslie Prince, of Luther Street, Oxford, had denied one count of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

His trial at Oxford Crown Court came to an abrupt end last month when the 31-year-old had a change of heart and pleaded guilty.

READ AGAIN: The original report of the shock change of plea.

During the case prosecutors said that Prince was only rumbled after an attack by a gang of drug dealers in Blackbird Leys on the night of April 12, 2017.

After the attack, in which he received five stab wounds, he was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

While there police seized a black puffer jacket which was found to have a pack of Sterling cigarettes which contained 36 'tiny rocks'.

These rocks were revealed to be 35 wraps of heroin and one wrap which could not be conclusively identified.

Despite originally denying the charge he pleaded guilty part-way through his trial.

At his sentencing hearing yesterday defence barrister Gordana Turudija-Austin said that her client had 'turned his life around' since the offence.

READ AGAIN: A report from the original case last month.

She said that Prince - who has 26 previous convictions, including one for dealing - had made efforts to kick his own drugs habit for good.

She said: "He was a completely different person two and a half years ago, he was homeless, he was addicted to drugs, he was living on the streets of Oxford.

"Quite simply drugs ruled his life entirely. Following the stabbing incident in April 2017 [it] seems to [have] quite simply changed his life."

She said he then sought help from charity Turning Point to tackle his addiction and has been out of trouble since the stabbing attack.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Ross praised the work the Rectory Road-based treatment centre does and said were he to order a jail term it would 'undo' the good progress Prince had made since the offence.

Prince was handed a two-year community order to include 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a prohibited activity requirement not to possess or consume any unlawful drug.

He must also pay a victim surcharge and no court costs - estimated by the CPS at £2,800 - were ordered in light of his means.