Radio Sandwell News

Schoolgirls 'beat woman to death then took mocking Snapchat selfie'

2016-02-17 22:57:57

Angela WrightsonAngela Wrightson (inset) died from blood loss and extensive injuries in Hartlepool Photo: SWNS

Two schoolgirls aged just 13 and 14 tortured and battered a frail woman to death then posted a mocking photograph on Snapchat as they were driven away laughing by the police, a court heard.

The girls caused over 100 wounds to harmless 39-year-old alcoholic Angela Wrightson in a ferocious beating using multiple weapons and then "heaped indignities" on her by stripping her half-naked and defiling her body, the jury was told.

But they left her house laughing - using the police as a taxi service to take them back to the homes where they were staying in local authority care.

Showing no remorse for what they had done, it is alleged, the younger girl took a picture of her friend in the back of the police van and posted it on the Snapchat app with the caption: "Me and (name) in the back on the bizzie van again."

Leeds Crown Court was told the girls also stopped during the beating and took a selfie with Miss Wrightson in the frame, the bruising they had inflicted visible on her face in the chilling image.

The girls smashed a TV over her head and beat her with a stick studded with screws, a kettle, a pan and a ceramic vase. As she lay dying they stripped her from the waist down and left her legs spread apart, arranging gravel and grit around her private parts.

Through the attack, the court heard, Miss Wrightson pleaded for her life, saying: "Please don't, stop, I'm scared." Her pleas fell on deaf ears, the court heard, with the girls kicking her until pieces of flesh flew from her head.

Covered in their victim's blood the girls tried to call one of their carers and got no answer, before ringing a local taxi firm who also failed to answer.

They decided to call the police for a lift home, giggling so much as they did so that the operator asked them "what's so funny?"

Angela Wrightson was murdered at her home in Stephen Street near the centre of Hartlepool, County Durham, in an attack that may have begun as early as 7.30pm on December 8th 2014 and could have ended as late as 2.56am the following morning.

The girls left the house at 11pm on the 8th and went to visit a male friend, listening to pop songs by Eminem, Sia and Five Seconds of Summer on the younger girl's phone. The girls then returned to Miss Wrightson's home "to see if she was dead."

The following day the older girl began asking her care worker how long the sentence was for murder.

When she was told it could be seven years for manslaughter she said the sentence might "sort her out" as she could do courses behind bars and would have her own TV and Playstation.

The attackers, two girls who had an "intense" relationship, had carried out a "sustained and brutal" attack causing over 100 injuries.

Opening the case against the girls, who are now 14 and 15, Nicholas Campbell QC told the jury: "Angela Wrightson was found by her landlord. Her body was sitting on a sofa in her front room, she was naked from the waist down and her landlord called the emergency services.

"It became clear that she had been the victim of a sustained and brutal assault. There were well over 100 injuries to all parts of her body. The evidence at the scene of the crime showed that she had been assaulted in 12 separate locations within that room.

"A number of implements were used as weapons. They included: a wooden stick with screws standing proud of the surface; a television set; a printer for a home computer; a coffee table; and a shovel.

"Smaller items such as a kettle and a metal pan were also used, together with a glass ceramic vase and a glass ornament. The front room was left in quite a state, and you will see from the photographs taken by the police.

"The prosecution case is that Angela Wrightson was murdered, and that the two defendants are guilty of that murder."

Mr Campbell added: "Further indignities were heaped upon her when she was in no position to stop them.

"Her body was left on her red sofa, her legs were splayed and some gravel or grit that had been inside a glass bottle and shards of glass were strewn around her private parts.

"Her head was turned to the left and ash was recovered from her right ear which appears to have come from a pad of paper which had been burnt through."

As the attack went on they humiliated their victim by photographing her and posting the image on Snapchat.

Mr Campbell said the older girl can be seen peering around the shoulder of the younger one, with Angela Wrightson in the background.

He said: "To the left of the image is the diminutive figure of Angela Wrightson. When you look at this image with greater clarity you will see both defendants are smiling.

"Angela Wrightson is sitting facing the camera with her back to the sofa and she is sitting either on the sofa itself leaning forward or on the floor leaning backwards with her back against the bottom part of the sofa.

"She is alive but she is not smiling and her face is marked. By 9pm there were marks on her face that were not there at half past seven.

"Having captured that moment in time (the younger girl) uploaded it onto Snapchat. Before it left her phone either she or the other girl added the caption "Nar xx"

"Whatever that caption means it was not published to show Angela Wrightson was having a good time that night."

At one stage in the prolonged beating the younger girl rang a friend, making the call via the Facebook Messenger service.

The friend heard her yelling to her friend: "Go on (name) smash her head in, bray her, f*****g kill her." In the background the girl also heard laughter."

The girls eventually left Miss Wrightson's home just after 4am on December 9, 2014, calling the police who they used "as a taxi service," Mr Campbell said.

He added: "The police were not quick enough for the older defendant. They rang again five minutes later and she said it was f*****g freezing and asked how long the police were going to be. A good deal of laughter was heard and the operator asked: 'What is so funny?'

"These calls are important, you will be better informed by them of the defendant's attitue and demeanor. They had no regrets and were still referring to each other as the team they were that night and would remain beyond that night."

In the back of the van the younger girl took the picture of her friend.

Mr Campbell said: "You can see (older girl) covering her face with her hand and on her lap you can see (younger girl's) parka with a fur head concealing the blood staining."

As the younger girl got out of the police van she said to her friend: "See you after our kid."

The younger attacker confessed the details of the attack to a friend at a local authority facility the following day, it is alleged

She told the girl Miss Wrightson begged: "Please don't, stop, I'm scared."

Mr Campbell said: "She told her friend that in spite of what Angela Wrightson was saying they kept booting her, describing how flesh was coming out of Angela's head and pools of blood were forming."

Her friend asked her why she didn't ring the police and she replied: "Because I wanted her dead anyway."

Mr Campbell said: "She said she just had hate for Angie but she didn't know why."

Throughout proceeding the girls sat at either side of the dock listening intently, both flanked by intermediary support workers.

Mr Campbell said they had known each other for years and had a "close, even intense" relationship.

Both girls had troubled backgrounds and were in local authority care.

In October of last year efforts were made to keep the girls apart by the older girl's elder sister because they were seen as a bad influence on each other.

The younger girl texted the older one on October 30th: "we're not allowed no contact with each other? Who's not allowed no contact with each other? LMFAOOO. We will be with each other through thick and thin. f***ing crank man, just cos you are my little partner in crime."

Later the same girl texted: "Putting me out of town, thinking that we still won’t get in touch with each other and s**t. Hahaha. Well, I can’t wait to see you when I’m down. Get f*****g mortal!! Love you, Gorgeous Girl!!!! (Kisses.)"

Mr Campbell said Angela Wrightson was well known and popular in the local area, but was an alcoholic who could be "difficult" and had been known to place hoax calls to the emergency services.

But he added: "She was well liked when she was sober, she was a good neighbour, kept her house clean and tidy and would give chocolates to young children and fed local dogs, of whom she was particularly fond.

"She was always buying cleaning materials for her home and she liked to entertain, meticulously planning and executing her menu.

But when in drink, she could be difficult, and she was well known to the police and to the emergency services. One of her habits was to call them up, and when they arrived on Stephen Street, she could be found lying in the middle of the road."

The trial, which is expected to last around five weeks, continues.


Share this story

Related Stories

News around the web

DR Congo: Kidnapped Britons released

Britons held in DR Congo freed

Student groups with a million members back call for second Brexit referendum

Brexit: UK government to host summit on why other countries should join the EU

Metropolitan Police's facial recognition technology 98% inaccurate, figures show

Missing Joe Tilley found dead in Colombia

Russian embassy in Paris requests info from France on knife attacker's nationality

Nearly half a million 'hidden' young people left without state help to survive and find work, ministers warned

Crystal meth found at Home Office headquarters as Sajid Javid boasts about sniffer dogs' prowess

Theresa May faces deadlock over Brexit customs rules, after senior politicians attack both proposed options

Image Slider