Judge says 'no evidence' teenagers accused of Angela Wrightson killing had ‘done someone in before'

Angela Wrightson.
Angela Wrightson.

A pal of the younger of two teenage girls accused of battering a tragic alcoholic to death at her Hartlepool home said the pair ‘had done someone in before’, a court heard.

But jurors trying the two girls accused of murdering Angela Wrightson at an address in Stephen Street, in December 2014, were told by the judge presiding over the claim there was ‘no evidence whatsoever’ for the claim.

The revelation came under scrutiny while His Justice Henry Globe continued his summing up of the case against the two girls, who were 13 and 14 at the time of Ms Wrightson’s death.

Both girls deny murdering the frail and vulnerable 39-year-old, although the older of the two defendants will admit manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Jurors have been told that Ms Wrightson suffered in excess of 100 injuries after being beaten with an array of weapons, including a TV, a printer and a table, during a brutal onslaught last several hours on the night of December 8.

A member of the jury at Leeds Crown Court passed a note to the judge seeking clarification on evidence given by a friend of the younger defendant earlier in the case.

The witness had met up with the two girls after they are said to have launched a vicious attack upon 6½st Ms Wrightson.

He had asked the two girls why they were covered in blood, only to be told they would been involved in a fight with other girls.

The juror note asked for confirmation that he had said while giving evidence in the case that the pair had previously been involved in another assault.

Mr Justice Globe, addressing the jury, said: “One of your number has passed me a note. The note poses the question, when the witness gave evidence did we hear him say he was aware they (the defendants) had ‘done someone in’ before.

“My answer is you did hear him saying something of that nature.

“I firmly direct you that there is no evidence whatsoever that either girl has ‘done someone in’ before.”

Mr Justice Globe recounted the series of events that took place on December 8 - including the frenzied attack on Ms Wrightson, through to the arrest of both girls.

He told the jury the fact that the older girl had initially lied about her part in the attack may not ‘necessarily infer guilt’.

Mr Justice Globe read from a transcript of the girl’s interview, in which she stated: “I was not involved in assaulting Angie in anyway. I didn’t assault her, I didn’t murder her.”

The girl has subsequently admitted being involved in the assault and admits manslaughter, on the grounds she suffers from an abnormality of mental function, arising from a recognised medical condition.

Two independent psychiatrists giving evidence during the case have confirmed the diagnosis.

Mr Justice Globe said one of the characteristics of the condition is a propensity to lie.

He said: “It is important you remember that what she said in her police interview were lies.

“But you need to be cautious about was said in interview.

“She is young, no doubt was frightened. The fact she lied does not necessarily infer guilt. Lying is a characteristic of her disorder.”

Offering a timeline of the event’s that led to Ms Wrightson’s death, Mr Justice Globe said evidence from a photographic expert could be helpful in deciding when the assault began.

Referring to evidence given by imaging expert Stephen Cole - who has 20 years of experience working with West Yorkshire Police - compared a CCTV image of Ms Wrightson at 7.30pm, with a subsequent Snapchat picture of her taken at 9pm at her home.

Mr Cole said six dark marks on her face at 9pm were not present at 7.30pm and had a ‘close correlation’ with injuries identified on her face during a post-mortem examination.

Mr Justice Globe said: “From looking at post-mortem photos, he found a close correlation between the six dark marks and injuries identified in the post-mortem.”

The judge also told jurors that two drinking associates of Ms Wrightson had knocked on her door and one of them had entered her home at 9.56pm on the night of the attack, searching for a place to drink.

One of the women had entered through the unlocked front door and saw the home had been ‘wrecked’, before leaving the property.

The judge told jurors that a friend of the younger girl, who denies any part in the assault, had said in evidence that the defendant told her she and her co-accused had ‘done Angie in’ and were ‘going to get locked up’.

Another girl who knew the younger defendant had also given evidence stating that she had confided in her that she had joined in the attack on Ms Wrightson, as she didn’t want to look weak.

Mr Justice Globe said he expected to send the jury out to begin their deliberations tomorrow.

He will conclude his summing up of the trial, which is now in its eighth week, tomorrow morning.