BBC News

Angela Wrightson: Girls found guilty of murder

image copyrightFacebook
image captionThe court heard Angela Wrightson was found dead in her blood-spattered living room with more than 100 injuries

Two 15-year-old girls who "battered and tortured" a woman to death in her own home have been found guilty of murder.

Angela Wrightson, 39, was found in her living room with more than 100 injuries - including 80 to her face - in Hartlepool in December 2014.

The girls, then aged 13 and 14, used a variety of weapons including a coffee table and a computer printer.

They then rang police for a lift home before taking a selfie in the back of the van, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Both girls, who cannot be named, were in tears upon conviction.

More reaction from the Angela Wrightson murder trial

Ms Wrightson was found naked from the waist down and grit and shards of glass had been scattered over her, jurors heard.

Blood-stained pictures of weapons used in the attack, which lasted more than five hours, have been released by police. They included a wooden stick laced with screws, a television set, a shovel, ornaments, a picture frame and a kettle.

The court heard Ms Wrightson was forcibly restrained while the pair "battered and tortured" her in a "sustained and brutal" attack.

image copyrightCleveland Police
image captionOne of the girls took a photo in the back of a police van which took them home after the attack

Her blood-spattered body was found by her landlord the following morning in a scene "akin to a bomb site".

In a statement after the verdicts, Ms Wrightson's family said: "Angie was attacked and brutally murdered in her own home, a place where we all have the right to feel safe.

"Listening to the details of her injuries and of her final moments has been a harrowing experience and something which will continue to haunt us each and every day. No sentence, regardless of its severity, will ever bring Angie back."

image copyrightCleveland Police
image captionMs Wrightson went to the shop for the girls on the night she was killed

The trial heard that the girls had visited Ms Wrightson, an alcoholic known as "Alco Ange", on a number of occasions because she would buy them alcohol and cigarettes.

On the evening of the murder, they let themselves into her home and asked her to go to the shop for them.

Both had been drinking before they arrived and the older girl told the court she had taken prescription drugs earlier in the day.

Their accounts to the court of what happened next differed, but the jury heard that Ms Wrightson, who was 5ft 4ins and weighed six-and-a-half stone, was assaulted in 12 separate locations around the room.

image copyrightCleveland Police
image captionA shovel was one of the many weapons used to inflict injuries to Ms Wrightson
image copyrightCleveland Police
image captionPictures released by police show the blood-stained household objects used in the attack

After the attack the pair phoned police and asked for a lift home before taking a selfie on a mobile phone in the back of the police van, the eight-week trial was told.

The court was shown photos taken by the duo of themselves and Ms Wrightson during the evening of the attack.

The older girl accepted she struck the victim but said she did not intend her serious harm and shifted the blame on to her accomplice, telling the jury her younger friend told her to carry out the attack.

But the younger of the two said she played no part in the assault and did not encourage her co-accused in any way.

She told police her friend became angry and launched the attack after Ms Wrightson made a comment about her family.

An independent safeguarding adult review is being undertaken regarding the victim, while independent Serious Case Reviews are being carried out in respect of the two children, Hartlepool Borough Council said.

Chief executive Gill Alexander said: "Incidents like this are extremely rare, but we need to do everything possible to try to better understand what motivated the two children to behave as they did."

image copyrightCleveland Police
image captionA wooden stick laced with screws was used to "batter and torture" their victim
image captionThis image, posted on Snapchat by one of the girls, shows Angela Wrightson with marks on her face. The girls' faces have been pixellated (centre and far right) to protect their identities

Gerry Wareham, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "In our society it is hard to imagine that two girls of such a young age could be capable of such violence.

"The attack that the girls committed against Angela Wrightson was brutal and sustained. One can only imagine the fear and distress that she must have felt in the final hours of her life.

"Given the severity of their assault on Miss Wrightson, one would expect the girls to have shown a degree of remorse in the wake of her death.

"Instead, they laughed and smiled while posing for a 'selfie', with each continuing to deny that they had murdered her throughout the investigation and prosecution of this case."

Det Ch Supt Peter McPhillips, of Cleveland Police, said: "Throughout almost 25 years of service I have never come across such a brutal murder committed by such young girls."

The two girls will be sentenced on Thursday.

Related Topics

  • Hartlepool

More on this story

  • Angela Wrightson murder accused 'on mobile phone at time of attack'