Parents of teenager who killed Angela Wrightson say they feared the worst for the young tearaway
The parents of one of the teenagers who murdered vulnerable Hartlepool woman Angela Wrightson say they still do not understand how their daughter turned from an innocent little girl to a brutal killer in just two years.
The mum and dad of the girl, who was 13 at the time she and a friend battered Angela to death, said their daughter’s behaviour dramatically changed when she moved from primary to secondary school, and all their efforts to deal with her failed.
Along with a friend, who was just 14, they went on to murder Angela after attacking her with a number of weapons at Angela’s home in Stephen Street, in December 2014.
Her dad said: “I keep looking back and thinking is there anything we could have done as parents to prevent this – and I just can’t find it.
“She was my little girl, she was innocent and within two years she became a killer. We are still struggling to deal with that.
“I feel for Angela and I feel for her mum. For her mum to have to sit through the court case and listen to what her daughter endured in the last few hours of her life must have been devastating.
“No one deserves to go though what Angela went though and no one deserves to hear that about their daughter.”
The girl led a normal childhood but he said all of their lives changed forever when she reached secondary school age.
He added: “We went everywhere together. I took her everywhere. She had everything. She was happy-go-lucky. she went to clubs and classes. She was just lovely.
“All that seemed to change when she went to senior school. Like all parents we put boundaries in place, but she started to ignore them. We would punish her, like taking her phone from her or grounding her, but it just went from bad to worse.
“We had to call the police when she smashed up her room. She was staying out to all hours, drinking and doing God knows what else. She would stay out all night and we would have to contact the police to find her. We were just frantic. nothing seemed to work. We tried talking to her then it would be ok for a couple of weeks.
“Eventually we brought in social services because nothing was working. We tried foster care respite for a day a week, but that didn’t work. Eventually she ended up in more permanent local authority care for a few weeks leading up to the attack.”
He added: “I know people will say ‘where were the parents?’ and all that, but we tried everything. I still can’t understand why this happened.
“I remember the night all this happened and my partner called to say she was at the police station and I heard why she was arrested.
“I kept thinking this must be someone else, they must have this wrong. When we eventually heard all the detail we were just stunned. It was and is still unreal.
“I still don’t know why my little, innocent girl turned into a brutal killer in just two years.
“We are just devastated. Devastated for the victim, for her family. It’s ruined all our lives.”
Both girls are serving 15 years custody after being convicted of Angela’s murder.
Leeds Crown Court heard Angela was attacked with a variety of weapons over several hours, including a TV, a computer printer, a table and a stick laced with screws.
The trial heard that the girl, referred to by the pseudonym “Yasmine” in reports, took selfies at the scene of the crime after the violence had started and published one on Snapchat.
She posted another from the back of a police van they called to collect them after the murder, with the message “me and (names older girl) in the back, on the bizzie van again”.
The girl’s parents have rejected findings of an independent review into how authorities dealt with the girl, who cannot be named, which said her parenting was “at times hostile, physically abusive and blaming”.
The dad of the girl said: “The first we heard about it was in the report and we just don’t agree with it.
“We went to social services for help in the first place. She was running away all the time and wasn’t coming home. We scoured the streets looking for her.
“I used to be able to find her. Then she started to get more clever so we couldn’t and it was our duty to ring the police.
“She was running away because she wouldn’t take our rules. We used to take her phone off her at 9pm.”
He said they approached social services for her to be put into foster care to “shock” her into behaving, and wanted her to be placed as far away as possible from bad influences in Hartlepool.
“We were at the end of our tether,” said the dad. “We wanted her placed in foster care and moving as far away from Hartlepool as possible because of the people she was going out with taking drugs and things.
“I wanted it to be a shock for her to move away from her parents and see what she was missing, but unfortunately this incident occurred.”
Independent serious case reviews were published last week into each of the girls as well as Angela, who had a long addiction to alcohol and mental health issues.
They concluded the murder could not have been predicted or prevented, but said agencies involved did not work well enough together, share information, or escalate plans properly when further incidents occurred.
The report said “Yasmine” became disruptive, aggressive and bullying after starting secondary school.
Increasing concerns saw her subjected to a Child Protection Plan for neglect.
She was said to be drinking, taking drugs and engaged in possible sexual activity.
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “The Serious Case Review was carried out by an independent person.
“Her findings are based on a full review of records held by a range of agencies, including Hartlepool Borough Council.
“She interviewed key professionals who worked with ‘Yasmine’ and her family, and she also met with Yasmine’s parents.”