A judge said she has witnessed a rise in knife crime which is becoming “a real problem with many tragic consequences”.

Her Honour Judge Laing KC has heard many cases about knife crime in Sussex in recent months, latterly the case of Thomas Waeling, who tried to murder a woman when he was just 17 years old.

The trial, which concluded on November 14 at Lewes Crown Court, heard how Waeling, now 18, stabbed Sarah Taylor in Hastings while she was walking back from Lidl with her shopping bags.

The 50-year-old survived, but suffered a punctured lung and internal bleeding.

After the jury delivered their verdict, of guilty by 11 to one, Judge Laing concluded the trial with a statement.

The Argus: At the end of Waeling's trial, Judge Laing said the case was a sad indictment of modern societyAt the end of Waeling's trial, Judge Laing said the case was a sad indictment of modern society (Image: Andrew Gardner/The Argus)

“I, for one, found this an utterly depressing case and a sad indictment of modern society,” she said.

“In recent months there has been a rise in knife crime in Sussex and people are carrying knives to make themselves feel safe.

“It is becoming a real problem with many tragic consequences. It had almost tragic consequences for Ms Taylor.”

This article is part of our Cut Knife Crime campaign.

Our mission is to reduce knife crime and the number of people being injured and killed in stabbings through:

  • Increasing the use of knife amnesty bins.
  • Educating young people about knife crime and making them aware of the effects it has on not just the victim, but those around them
  • Having more bleed control kits in pubs, shops and businesses

Waeling will be sentenced in January.

Judge Laing has previously spoken out about knife crime when she urged jurors to write to their MPs about the “scourge of knife crime” after she heard a case in which a young man was found guilty of killing an 18-year-old with a 22-inch zombie knife.

Emadh Miah, 18, ambushed and fatally stabbed Ghulam Sadiq near his home in Leytonstone, East London.

In April this year, a jury at the Old Bailey found him unanimously guilty of Mr Sadiq's murder.

The Argus:

At the end of the trial, Judge Laing said: “These weapons are there for anybody to purchase and it is beyond me as to why that is. The weapon we are concerned with here has absolutely no place in this society.

“All I can do is encourage you to write to your MP and say why is it these can be so readily purchased.

“Knife crime in general is becoming the scourge of our society but at the moment people can get weapons like that - it's really quite shocking.”

On April 26 this year, at Lewes Crown Court, Judge Laing sentenced Miah to life in prison for the killing.

If you can host a bleed control pack in your business or support our campaign in any way contact campaigns@theargus.co.uk.