A 17-year-old said he was going to “go and stab someone” moments before knifing a stranger in the chest, a court was told.

Thomas Waeling chased and attacked a 50-year-old with a 15cm kitchen knife while she was carrying two bags of shopping home.

She was stabbed multiple times in the arm and once in the chest, puncturing her lung.

The woman had to be airlifted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

Waeling, who can now be named due to turning 18, dumped the knife in some bushes nearby following the unprovoked attack near Bohemia Road in Hastings.

Sarah Taylor described how she saw a stranger with the “biggest knife she had ever seen” and put the hood of her coat up to try and avoid drawing attention to herself.

The Argus: The police cordon on the nightThe police cordon on the night (Image: Sussex News and Pictures)

She ran into a small wooded area near Summerfields Leisure Centre and turned around to someone saying “oi” or “hey” as Waeling “hurled” himself towards her.

Philip Stott, prosecuting at Lewes Crown Court, said: “He was a complete stranger, this was a random attack. The issue is what was his intention?

“There is no dispute that Waeling carried out this brutal attack but what the court must gather is did he intend to kill the woman or cause very serious harm? There is no other plausible reason for him stabbing a woman in broad daylight multiple times.”

Waeling has admitted causing grievous bodily harm and having a knife but denies attempted murder.

Ms Taylor did not attend court but her police interview describing the attack was played as evidence.

Waeling, wearing a shirt and tie, kept his head down in the dock and was rubbing his eyes as the video was played.

His friend Thomas Mann, 19, was with Waeling moments before the incident.

The court heard that Waeling, of Kenilworth Road, St Leonards, was in an “angry mood” following a fight with his dad and told his friend that he wanted to get in a fight or stab someone on May 15 this year.


Mr Mann, speaking as a witness, said it was nothing out of the ordinary but he did not think anything of it at the time.

He told the court that he could see his friend and Ms Taylor through the trees but could not see what he had done to her.

“I could hear the stabbing, the sound of a knife going into something”, he said.

The court heard that Waeling then appeared from the trees and said to “run G run”.

The knife was shown to Mr Mann and the jury.

Mr Mann was asked to burn Waeling’s clothes after the attack. He sent a video to Waeling as proof he had done it.

Waeling said he would bring a knife out with him around Hastings for “self-defence”.

In a police interview he also said that he thought he knew the person he stabbed from a previous incident where he had been chased.

The Argus: Forensic teams at the scene in MayForensic teams at the scene in May (Image: Sussex News and Pictures)

Neil Fitzgibbon, defending, cross examined Mr Mann and asked him about why Waeling may have felt the need to carry a knife.

The court heard that Waeling would get “jumped” around Hastings by groups of local young men who would try to fight them. These groups would range from four to ten boys.

Mr Mann said Waeling would wear a balaclava to hide his identity, always ran away from fights and would take back roads so he was not spotted.

Mr Mann said Waeling was in shock after finding out that he had stabbed a woman.

Four more witness statements were also read out from passersby who were in the area at the time.

The trial continues tomorrow.