A jury is deciding whether a teenager attempted to murder a woman he had never met after seeing her in the street.

Thomas Waeling, stabbed 50-year-old Sarah Taylor with a large knife while she was walking back from Lidl with her shopping bags.

Waeling, 18, denies attempted murder and said that he had mistaken her for someone else.

Prosecutors say the teen, who was 17 at the time, had grabbed “the biggest knife he could possibly find” and was intent on using it to stab “anyone”.

Philip Stott, prosecuting, told the jury at Lewes Crown Court: “He wanted to attack someone who was on their own and wasn’t able to defend themselves.


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“This simply cannot be explained away. He has lied to you.

“He has tried to come up with the best story that he can to try and excuse his behaviour.”

The court has heard how Waeling attacked Ms Taylor and slashed her with a 15cm knife after an argument with his father.

Ms Taylor was airlifted to hospital in Brighton with “really serious” injuries after the attack in Bohemia Road, Hastings, on May 15.

Waeling, of Kenilworth Road, St Leonards, has pleaded guilty to GBH with intent but denies intending to kill Ms Taylor.

The court heard Waeling often carried a knife or a hammer with him “to protect himself” and would wear dark clothing and cover his face so he would not be recognised.

Neil Fitzgibbon, defending, said Waeling mistook Ms Taylor for someone who had previously bullied him.

He said: “It is very fortunate that Sarah Taylor did not die.

“The red mist descended, clarity of thought evaded him and he zoned out intent on teaching someone who he perceived as the bully a lesson.

“There was no intention in his mind to kill, his answer has remained resolute. His intention was to teach his tormentors a lesson.”

The jury has now been sent home for the weekend and will continue their deliberations on Monday.