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Dad of murder victim slams ‘words and no action’ from court bosses

PUBLISHED: 16:13 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:13 25 March 2020

David Hastings. Picture supplied by Mr Hastings' father David.

David Hastings. Picture supplied by Mr Hastings' father David.

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A father whose son was murdered by a stranger who had just weeks earlier been spared jail for possessing knives said he had had “words and no action” from court bosses.

Police have cordoned off an area near to the Rose Lane car park after the murder of a man. PIC: Peter WalshPolice have cordoned off an area near to the Rose Lane car park after the murder of a man. PIC: Peter Walsh

David Hastings, 48, was knifed in his back, chest, neck and mouth as he walked away from Norwich’s Rose Lane car park with his girlfriend in the early hours of June 23 2018.

The knifeman, Rolands Heinbergs, then 23, was last year jailed for 28 years after a jury took less than an hour to convict the Latvian of murder following a trial at Norwich Crown Court.

Mr Hastings’ father, also called David, sought answers from magistrates’ court bosses as to why his son’s killer had not been jailed for previous knife offences but said he had received “words and no action”.

He said: “Its very difficult. If he (Heinbergs) had got a custodial sentence he wouldn’t have been there on that night - but I haven’t got any answers as yet. All very sorry, condolences and all that but no-one has said in the future there will be six months imprisonment for carrying a bladed article. That should be the message - that people will go to prison if they are carrying a knife.”

David Hastings' father, David. Picture supplied by Mr Hastings' father David.David Hastings' father, David. Picture supplied by Mr Hastings' father David.

As previously reported it emerged the Latvian had been given a suspended sentence for possession of knives in Thetford weeks before the fatal attack in the summer of 2018.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has been contacted before about the decision but would not comment.

Almost two years on from the tragedy David, now 70, said “the pain is still there” and not a day went by without a thought of his son.

David added: “You don’t know what the outcome would be if there was a short, sharp shock. That sort of punishment when you’re 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17 - you don’t know if that would be the answer.”

Roland Heinbergs and the scene of the murder on Rose Lane. Photo: PoliceRoland Heinbergs and the scene of the murder on Rose Lane. Photo: Police

And he warned that knife crime was seemingly “the way of the world”.

He said: “More parents will have police officers knocking on their door telling them that their child is not coming home any more, that for me, is burned into my brain.”

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