Tees

Angela Wrightson: Accused girls 'phoned police for lift'

Angela Wrightson Image copyright Cleveland Police/PA
Image caption Angela Wrightson's body was found at her home in Hartlepool by her landlord

Two schoolgirls used police as a "taxi" to take them home after beating to death a vulnerable woman, a court has heard.

Angela Wrightson's half-naked body was found by her landlord at her home in Hartlepool on 9 December 2014.

A wooden stick laced with screws, a coffee table and a TV were among the weapons used against the 39-year-old, Leeds Crown Court was told.

The girls, aged 13 and 14 at the time, have denied murder.

The court heard the girls, now aged 14 and 15, posed for a selfie in the back of the police van, which took them to carers after the "sustained and brutal" attack.

Ms Wrightson, who was known as "Alco Ange", had got a reputation for going to the local shop to buy cigarettes and alcohol for children, the hearing was told.

The jury was told shards of glass, together with small pieces of gravel or grit were strewn over and around Ms Wrightson's genitals and ash from burnt paper had been put into her ear.

Image copyright Cleveland Police
Image caption The court heard one of the girls took a photo in the back of a police van which took them home after the alleged attack

They heard the two girls had let themselves into Ms Wrightson's unlocked home before launching the attack on the "small in stature and thin" woman and taking pictures of themselves at the crime scene.

Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, said: "The evidence at the scene of the crime showed that she had been assaulted on 12 separate locations within and around that room. A number of implements were used."

While at the house the younger of the two girls made a voice call via Facebook to a friend who heard her say: "Go on [name of older girl], smash her head in. Bray her. Kill her," as another laughed in the background, the court heard.

A selfie posted to Snapchat showed the defendants smiling with Ms Wrightson pictured in the background shortly before her death, with further selfies showing the girls drinking cider from a bottle, the jury was told.

'Slicing her face'

Following the killing, the court heard, the girls left the house at about 23:00 GMT and met a friend who had asked them why they were covered in blood.

They told him they had both fallen over and began listening to rap and high energy music.

Mr Campbell said the friend claimed the older girl "said something about 'slicing her face' and booting her all over, and that she [the older girl], had 'done all the work while [the younger one] was smoking a tab'".

He said the older of the two girls said they needed to go back to the house, to see if "she" was dead or alive and returned at about 02:00 GMT.

Image caption Angela Wrightson was assaulted in 12 places in her living room, prosecutors said

Mr Campbell added: "It's not known whether they went back to continue the violence or whether Angela Wrightson was indeed already dead when they got there.

"Before they left for a final time, further indignities had been heaped on Angela Wrightson when she had been in no position to stop them."

He added that once the girls "decided to bring their activities to an end" at about 04:00 GMT, the younger girl texted her carer to come and get her. However, when she got no response, she phoned the police, he said.

Jurors were told when their police "taxi" did not come quick enough they called again, saying it was "freezing".

Once inside the police van, they were described as laughing and joking and "seemed to be in high spirits".

'Stamped on head'

One of the officers reported hearing one girl say "Snapchat" and "put the flash on", the hearing was told. Realising that they were taking photographs, he told them to stop, the court heard.

The message, posted to social media site Snapchat, and read out in court said: "Me and [the older girl] in the back, on the bizzie van again". It showed one of the girls covering her face with a Parka jacket on her lap concealing the blood, the jury was told.

Both defendants admit they were present at the time the injuries were inflicted on Ms Wrightson.

The older girl accepts she hit Ms Wrightson but said she did not intend her serious harm.

The younger girl says she played no part in the assault and did not encourage her co-accused in any way.

The younger girl allegedly told a friend they had "stamped all over her head".

Mr Campbell claimed the defendant told her friend Ms Wrightson had said "please don't - stop, I'm scared".

After news of the murder spread the next day, the older girl told a support worker it was "shocking".

The trial is expected to last five weeks.

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