Teenager who stabbed stranger in Hastings because he was in a 'bad mood' is jailed for 13 years

Thomas Waeling stabbed a stranger because he was in a 'bad mood'. Credit: Sussex Police.

A teenager who stabbed a stranger walking back from the supermarket because he was in a "bad mood" has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Thomas Waeling, 18, "armed himself with a very large knife" after an argument with his father and knifed 50-year-old woman after she left Lidl in Hastings on May 15 last year.

According to Sussex Police, the youth had taken a knife from a friend’s house after the row, and told a friend: "I’m going to stab someone, I’m in the mood.

"The first person I see I’m going to stab."

A 50-year-old woman suffered a punctured lung and other wounds and had to be airlifted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Waeling, who was 17 at the time, stabbed the woman multiple times before running from the scene, ditching the knife in a public toilet and asked his friend to burn the clothes he had been wearing, the force said.

Sentencing Waeling for attempted murder at Lewes Crown Court, Judge Christine Laing KC said it was "one of the most depressing cases she had to deal with for quite some time."

The judge said: "For me, one of the most depressing and hardest to understand aspects is the fact is you had some sort of argument with your dad.

"You decided to take out your frustrations and your anger on a completely random stranger.

"It was utter misfortune that she happened to leave Lidl just at that time and went in a direction that meant she left the main road … and made herself a target for you simply to vent your frustration on."

Thomas Waeling confronted the victim who was not known to him in a car park on Bohemia Road, Hastings. Credit: ITV News Meridian.

Judge Laing said Waeling had deliberately taken a knife to murder someone in the "utterly senseless" attack for the “sole reason being your bad mood at the time”.

Waeling was found guilty of attempted murder following a trial at Lewes Crown Court, where a jury returned a majority verdict.

The court heard how the local woman was stabbed to the centre of her chest near Bohemia Road in the seaside town at around 8pm.

Her life was saved by the rapid response of emergency services and members of the public, the judge said.

Sussex Police has said tackling knife crime is a force priority. Credit: ITV News Meridian.

In a victim impact statement, the woman, a musician, said she had been left with severe post traumatic stress disorder and suffered life-changing injuries.

She has no feeling in 30% of her arm and is no longer able to play her instrument or sing despite music being her only source of income for the last five years.

Judge Laing also said that at the heart of the case was the "habit" of young people carrying knives, adding: "It has got to stop."

Defending Waeling, Neil Fitzgibbon said the youth was "apologetic, remorseful and devastated" at what the woman has had to go through.

Waeling, formerly of Kenilworth Road, St Leonards, was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment and three years on extended licence.

Chief inspector Jayantha Mendis-Gunasekera said: "Tackling knife crime is a force priority, and in Hastings we have carried out knife sweeps, visits to schools and colleges, checks on retailers to ensure they are not selling weapons to children, and operated knife amnesty bins to get these weapons off the streets."

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