Man sentenced to 28 years in prison for the murder of David Hastings in Norwich
PUBLISHED: 12:37 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:27 11 June 2019
A man who murdered a father of two in an horrific, cold blooded knife attack in Norwich had been out had been out "stalking the streets" looking for a victim just weeks after convicted of carrying knives, a court has heard.
David Hastings, 48, suffered 13 stab wounds including a fatal one to the heart as well as a number of other potentially fatal wounds in a brutal attack, Norwich Crown Court was told.
Mr Hastings, formerly of Long Row, Norwich, was knifed in his back, chest, neck and mouth, while walking away from Rose Lane car park with his girlfriend in the early hours of June 23, last year.
Rolands Heinbergs, 23, of no fixed address, had pleaded not guilty to murder but was convicted in just over 50 minutes by the jury of five men and seven women on Monday.
Heinbergs had been serving a suspended sentence for possession of knives at the time of the fatal attack.
He had been in court just three weeks before the fatal attack on Mr Hastings and given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, following the offences in Thetford on May 7 last year.
In a moving victim impact statement read out in court Mr Hastings' daughter Kimberley said her father's death had been "really hard to come to terms with", particularly given Heinbergs' previous convictions.
She said: "The fact that this man was caught with a knife just a few weeks before he killed my dad but was dealt with so leniently is so hard to take.
"Things could be so different if sentences for knife crime were harsher."
Heinbergs was given a life sentence by Judge Stephen Holt who ordered that he serve a minimum of 28 years in prison.
Members of Mr Hastings families as well as friends cheered and applauded as the defendant, who smirked and smiled throughout the hearing, was sent down.
Judge Holt said Heinbergs had been "out stalking the streets" with a knife looking for "anyone that night and tragically David Hastings was that victim".
Heinbergs, who declined to give evidence in his defence, appeared to smile at points during the sentencing hearing.
Mr Hastings' father, also called David, also provided a victim statement which revealed it had been "hard to put into words the devastation" that the senseless crime has done.
He said they will "never get over this".
Mr Hastings' son Kyle feels "anger and outrage" that someone could do this to a man "who was no harm to anyone. He was just friendly to everyone."
Wayne Cleaver, prosecuting, said it was a clear case of murder and described it as an "horrific" attack on a stranger.
He said the 13 wounds sustained in the attack were all deep wounds "each of which was potentially fatal".
Andrew Oliver, mitigating, said the events of this "tragic night" was more to do with "impulsivity" than any degree of planning.
The trial has heard that Mr Hastings was a complete stranger to the defendant and was in the "wrong place at the wrong time" when the incident occurred.
The court was told how Heinbergs arrived in the UK from Latvia in January, last year.
He found work initially with a delivery firm and then found work at a Suffolk food business before he came to Norwich on June 21.
Speaking after the case, temporary detective chief inspector Stuart Chapman said: "This was such a shocking and appalling crime committed by Heinbergs and one where he has shown absolutely no remorse. David and his friend were simply going about their own business when Heinbergs launched into this wholly unprovoked attack giving David no chance at all, even with the best efforts of those giving medical help on the night. There was no reason for it and still today he has given no explanation for why he did this. Heinbergs, who is clearly a dangerous individual, was arrested quickly on the night and today's sentence will ensure he remains off any street for a very long time.
"Our thoughts are with David's family and friends who have lost him in such terrible circumstances and whist it is still unknown what triggered Heinbergs to act in this violent and senseless way, I hope this sentence will go some way in helping them during this difficult time."