A "dangerous" man who stabbed a complete stranger 11 times told police he "just had an urge to kill someone".

A psychiatrist could not find anything clinically wrong with 24-year-old James Thomas in the aftermath of the horrific attack on a young woman.

Thomas, who was wearing a grey sports top and dark trousers in court today, did not react when he was jailed for 16 years with an extended licence of five years after admitting one count of attempted murder and one count of possessing a knife.

Basildon Crown Court heard on November 29, Thomas armed himself with a knife and began walking the streets of Southend in a bid to kill someone and "satisfy his urges".

His victim, a young woman who was working as a door-to-door canvasser, knew nothing of him until he began stabbing her repeatedly in the neck and back.

Thomas left the knife in her neck before fleeing the scene and driving to Southend police station where he made a full confession.

Stephen Rose, prosecuting said: "He told police 'I just felt like it was something I wanted to do'.

He spoke about thoughts and urges to kill that had been on and off for a while. He told police 'I just started stabbing anywhere I could reach'.

"In doing so, he thought that it was his intention to kill the young lady."

Mr Rose went on to tell the court Thomas had been seen by a psychiatrist who said he did not suffer from any mental illness or personality disorder and added: "The defendant's behaviour remains unexplained."

The court heard Thomas, of Kingsway, Westcliff, was unable to articulate why he had done what he had done and assumed there must be something wrong with him.

The victim, who sat tearfully in the court room, suffered permanent scarring and nerve damage.

Sentencing, Judge John Lodge said: "A psychiatrist considers that you are dangerous and that there's a significant risk of serious harm from other offences."