Norfolk

Norfolk stranger murderer had previous knife arrest

Rolands Heinbergs Image copyright Norfolk Police
Image caption Rolands Heinbergs was found guilty of murdering David Hastings

A man has been jailed for a "savage, pre-meditated murder that had all the hallmarks of an execution".

Rolands Heinbergs, 23, of no fixed address, repeatedly stabbed David Hastings, 48, of Long Row, Norwich, in an unprovoked fatal attack last June.

Weeks earlier, Heinbergs had received a suspended sentence after being arrested for possessing two kitchen knives, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Mr Hastings' daughter Kimberley questioned the sentence at the hearing.

"I'm lost without my dad. The thought that this man was caught weeks before with knives. How was this possible?" she asked in her statement read out to court.

Heinbergs, who had been found guilty of murder, was told by Judge Stephen Holt he would have to serve 28 years before being considered for parole.

Image copyright Norfolk Police
Image caption Heinbergs was captured on CCTV buying a can of energy drink 30 minutes prior to the killing

Heinbergs was arrested for having the knives in Thetford in May 2018.

The court was told he arrived in Norwich on 22 June 2018 and went on to kill David Hastings with a knife in Norwich the following day.

Det Ch Insp Stuart Chapman said the law needed to be tightened up over the carrying of knives.

"This was such a shocking and appalling crime committed by Heinbergs and one where he has shown absolutely no remorse," he said.

"There was no reason for it and still today he has given no explanation for why he did this."

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption David Hastings was stabbed in the back, chest, neck, heart, lung, liver and pancreas

Mr Hastings was walking with his friend Karen Althoff at about midnight before making a stop at the public toilets on Rose Lane, the trial heard.

As they walked away from the toilets, the father-of-two was stabbed fatally in his back, chest, neck, heart, lung, liver and pancreas.

"He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Wayne Cleaver, prosecuting.

Mr Cleaver said Heinbergs, originally from Latvia, was arrested at about 03:45 BST and "the dead man's blood was found on the defendant's hand".

The court was told when police examined Heinbergs' mobile phone they found the message: "I killed. If caught will have to go to prison."

Image copyright Matthew Cooper
Image caption Mr Hastings was walking away from Rose Lane car park with his friend, who said "he didn't do anything to deserve this"

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