Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Thursday, 19 February 2009

Store stabbing attacker detained

Samuel Reid-Wentworth

A man is detained in hospital indefinitely after he admitted repeatedly stabbing a 20-year-old woman in a Sussex supermarket.

Samuel Reid-Wentworth, 22, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to the attempted murder of Lucy Yates at a store in Littlehampton last September.

The court heard he was a paranoid schizophrenic who had fantasies of drinking the blood of a young woman.

Miss Yates was stabbed about 21 times with a pocket knife but survived.

Reid-Wentworth was hospitalised under the Mental Health Act.

The court heard the attack came six weeks after he was discharged from a mental health unit.

'Wholly irrational'

Reid-Wentworth spotted Miss Yates from on-board a bus, got off and followed her into Somerfield in Littlehampton where she was going to buy groceries, the court heard.

He then carried out what Judge Anthony Scott-Gall said was a "horrific and wholly irrational" attack.

Prosecutor Rob Hall told the court: "The defendant approached her from behind, put his basket down, took out a pocket knife of about nine inches and started stabbing Miss Yates repeatedly."

He said Reid-Wentworth pinned her to the ground and plunged the blade into her face, chest, back and abdomen.

When customers started throwing items at Reid-Wentworth to try to make him stop, he told them he was a "psycho".

'Cowardly attack'

The court heard he was restrained by three staff members and arrested.

On the way to Worthing police station, Reid-Wentworth said he "did it and loved it" and added that he "should have stabbed her more", Mr Hall said.

After the hearing, the victim's parents Hugh and Debbie Yates issued a statement through Sussex Police.

They thanked doctors and nurses who helped their daughter in the "critical first few hours" and said: "We really do believe that without their skill and dedication Lucy would have suffered even more horrifically."

They said Reid-Wentworth's guilty plea had saved her the "anguish of having to appear in court and relive the horrors of that day."

They added: "But we feel we have to say that Lucy has to relive the physical effects of the cowardly attack upon her every day of her life."

Sword threat

The court heard Reid-Wentworth had suffered from mental health problems since early childhood and before attacking Miss Yates had written to a clinical psychologist saying he intended to kill or attack a woman in a supermarket in Bognor using a samurai sword.

Police recovered a sword opposite Tesco in the town after Reid-Wentworth was arrested.

Tests showed he had not been taking his anti-psychotic medication, the court heard.

Detaining him indefinitely under the Mental Health Act, Judge Scott-Gall said he "literally went hunting" for his victim.

He said: "This terrible attack was premeditated in that you had for some time been planning to kill a young, attractive woman and in order to do that you armed yourself with a knife you secreted."

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