A teenager from Stevenage has been sentenced to 11 years in prison after stabbing a woman in the eye in Hitchin, causing life-changing injuries.

Nineteen-year-old Kai Ridgewell was first seen “behaving erratically” in St Mary’s car park on Saturday, December 18 last year.

The victim, a 21-year-old woman who was on her way home from a night out, approached him to ask if he needed any help.

Ridgewell then turned around and stabbed her in the eye.

Officers arrested him at the scene, and he was subsequently charged with Section 18 Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) and possession of an offensive weapon.

The victim, who was unknown to Ridgewell, was taken to hospital for treatment.

Despite extensive surgery, she was informed by doctors that she would not be able to see out of her eye again.

Ridgewell pleaded guilty at St Albans Crown Court on Monday February 14, and was remanded into custody.

He appeared for sentencing at Huntingdon Crown Court on Friday (March 25), where he was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Detective Constable Nathalia Smith, who led the investigation, said: “This was an entirely unprovoked and horrific attack on a young woman who was simply walking home from a night out and had approached Ridgewell to offer help.

“She has now been left with life changing injuries, and sadly will never be able to see out of her eye again.

“I would like to commend her for the strength and bravery she has shown throughout this whole process.

“Whilst no sentence can make up for the horrific ordeal the victim has endured as a result of his actions, I hope that this lengthy sentence offers both her and her family a sense of justice and closure, knowing that Ridgewell will be spending a significant amount of time behind bars.

“I hope he uses his time in prison to reflect on the consequences of his actions.

“Everyone should be able to enjoy a night out and get home safely.

“Ridgewell’s behaviour was completely deplorable, and violence like this will absolutely not be tolerated in Hertfordshire.

“This investigation has been long and extensive, involving hours of examining CCTV footage and identifying possible witnesses.

“Let this serve as a warning to anyone involved in criminality in Hertfordshire: we will do whatever it takes to track offenders down, get them off our streets and bring them to justice, especially those who endanger others by carrying weapons.”

You can report information about knife crime anonymously via the Crimestoppers website.

You can also report information directly to police online by using an online reporting form or web chat function, or by calling the non-emergency number 101.