The murder trial of two teenage girls accused of battering a vulnerable woman to death in her own home has been halted for the day after ‘major transport problems’ delayed one of the defendant’s arrival at court for several hours.
The older of two girls charged over the death of 39-year-old Angela Wrightson at her home in Stephen Street, Hartlepool, was due to continue to give evidence about the day she was killed in December 2014.
But jurors were sent home for the day at 1.20pm after transport issues prevented the younger of the two girls from being present at court until 1pm.
Mr Justice Henry Globe QC, who is the judge presiding over the trial, told the jury he had ‘reluctantly’ concluded the older of the two defendants should not continue her evidence.
He said the hold-up of over four hours had led to concerns over her concentration levels.
Mr Justice Globe said: There have been major transport problems (for the younger defendant) this morning.
“She did not arrive at the court until 1pm.
“She (the older girl) had been ready, focused and prepared to give evidence today.
“But it has now been over four-and-a-half hours she has been waiting, not knowing exactly when we would be able to sit.
“Although a bit reluctantly, for entirely good reasons, I am not going to ask (older defendant) to answer questions about this important case this afternoon.
“Her intermediary (who helps her to understand the court process) has concerns about her concentration.
“Her concentration level is not nearly what it was this morning,
“It is extremely important you (the jury) do not hold this delay against either of the girls.”
The two defendants, who were 13 and 14 at the time of Ms Wrightson’s death, both deny murder.
Neither can be named due to their age.
During questioning by defence counsel Jamie Hill QC yesterday, the older girl admitted punching and kicking Ms Wrightson after her co-accused urged her to ‘knock her out’.
She had told the court she had gone to Ms Wrightson’s home with the younger defendant, who confronted her over claims the victim made that she had smashed her window.
She is due to continue giving evidence tomorrow morning.