The murder trial of two teenage girls accused of killing a Hartlepool woman in her own home was today hit by a fresh delay - and now looks set to stretch on beyond Easter.
The older of two girls accused of battering Angela Wrightson to death in Stephen Street, Hartlepool, on December 8, 2014, was due to continue to give details about the night she died under cross-examination by her co-accused’s barrister, John Elvidge QC.
The two girls, now aged 15 and 15, both deny murder.
The pair, who were 13 and 14 at the time of Ms Wrightson’s death, cannot be named due to their age.
But the session was halted after the older girl’s intermediary - an impartial person providing support for her to understand the court process - told Leeds Crown Court she was too tired to continue.
Mr Justice Henry Globe agreed to bring an early end to the day’s evidence - and warned jurors the case could now continue for longer than first expected.
The trial was initially listed for five weeks when it got underway in the middle of last month.
But Mr Justice Globe says a number of ‘hiccups’ - which have included a juror being taken ill and transport problems delaying the arrival of one of the defendants - mean the court process is set to be extended.
Mr Justice Globe told jurors: “This process is taking slightly longer than most people anticipated.
“We have had one or two hiccups for perfectly good reasons.
“I’m sure each of you are starting to think about the timetable of the case and how long it will take.
“You will understand how difficult it is to answer that question.
“There is the distinct possibility that this case will not finish before Easter.
“I would ask you to consider whether that will cause any of you a major problem if the case continues after Easter Monday.”
The trial will reconvene on Monday morning.