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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 17:54 GMT
Student's killer jailed for life
Tom Grant
The student had just finished his first year at university
A 22-year-old man who pleaded guilty to murdering a student on a train has been jailed for life at Preston Crown Court.

Thomas Lee Wood, of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, killed Thomas Grant, 19, of Churchdown, Gloucestershire, in an unprovoked attack last May.

He had earlier threatened to stab the student, who had glanced at him as they waited on the platform.

Mr Justice Openshaw called it "a truly shocking case" and ordered Wood to serve a minimum of 21 years.

The killing was entirely unprovoked. The victim was entirely blameless
Mr Justice Openshaw

Mr Grant had just completed his first year exams in history and Arabic at St Andrews University and was returning home for the holidays when he was attacked.

He encountered Wood while waiting on the platform at Carlisle for a train connection.

Wood was heard to threaten to stab Mr Grant but the student did not reply and turned away, Tim Holroyde QC, prosecuting, said.

'Crazed behaviour'

Preston Crown Court was told that Wood was carrying a 4in (11cm) kitchen knife in his pocket which he had stolen from his girlfriend's house.

Wood had earlier argued on the platform with his girlfriend and ended up tearing up his own train ticket.

Thomas Lee Wood
Wood went 'berserk' on the train, according to witnesses

When his girlfriend suggested that he would get thrown off the train if there was a ticket collector on board, Wood was heard to say that he would not because he would stab him.

Mr Grant got on the train and sat in the same compartment as Wood, who was walking up and down the train after arguing with his girlfriend.

A few minutes later Wood returned to the carriage through the sliding door with the knife in his hand.

He took a pace forward and looked to his left at the seat where Mr Grant was sitting before jabbing downwards with the knife towards the seat.

The court was told the student cried out: "I've been stabbed."

Potential 'wasted'

He died at the scene as the knife had gone through his lung and into a main artery.

Judge Openshaw told Wood: ""The killing was entirely unprovoked. The victim was entirely blameless."

He added: "After the carriage had been evacuated and the train manager had locked him in the carriage his crazed behaviour as he tried to break out caused staff and other passengers to fear their own lives were in peril."

Speaking after the court case, Mr Grant's father Ken said: "Tom had great potential to make a significant contribution to society but this potential has been needlessly wasted.

"For us, the way ahead is dark, lit only by memories of our dear son."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Thomas Grant's father comments outside the court



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