The rupture of a vulnerable carotid plaque featuring a lipid-rich necrotic core and intra-plaque haemorrhages is the major cause of stroke. Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) is a promising technique for assessing plaque vulnerability in the carotid artery due to its ability to assess the chemical composition in addition to its anatomy. However, assessment of chemical composition is usually based on the absorption differences of chromophores between multiple wavelengths, which heavily increase the complexity and cost of the imaging system. In this study, a new method based on single-wavelength PAI to detect intra-plaque haemorrhages, an important indicator of plaque vulnerability, is developed. The method uses wall filtering based on singular value decomposition. To test the method, a carotid plaque phantom mimicking intra-plaque haemorrhages, lumen and vasa vasorum is designed and imaged at 808nm in vitro. The phantom experiment shows wall filtering using singular value decomposition to be a viable method capable of discriminating signals originating from the lumen, vasa vasorum and intraplaque haemorrhages, allowing for the detection of intra-plaque haemorrhages with single wavelength PAI. This enables new opportunities for PAI of vulnerable carotid plaques with more cost effective and diverse laser sources.