Teenage girls to be sentenced for battering woman to death


Two teenage girls who murdered a 39-year-old woman by battering her to death with household objects in a five-hour ordeal will be sentenced today.

The girls, who cannot be named, were 13 and 14 when they attacked Angela Wrightson in the lounge of her home in Hartlepool, Co Durham, using weapons including a shovel, a TV, a coffee table and a stick studded with screws.

They left Miss Wrightson with more than 100 injuries on her body.

During the attack, the pair took selfies of themselves and even posted a picture on social media taken in the police van after the incident.

The girls, who are now both 15, were in tears in the dock after they were convicted at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said afterwards: "In our society it is hard to imagine that two girls of such a young age could be capable of such violence."

Miss Wrightson, who was 5ft 4ins and weighed six-and-a-half stone, was found dead in her blood-spattered living room in December 2014.

While at the house, the younger girl made a phone call over Facebook to a friend who heard her say: "Go on (older girl). Smash her head in. Bray her. F****** kill her," as another laughed in the background.

A selfie posted to Snapchat showed the defendants smiling with Miss Wrightson pictured in the background shortly before her death, with further selfies showing the girls drinking cider from a bottle.

The picture taken in the police vehicle was posted to the social media site Snapchat with the message: "Me and (older girl) in the back, on the bizzie van again."

The trial heard that the girls had visited Miss Wrightson, an alcoholic known as "Alco Ange", on a number of occasions as she would buy them alcohol and cigarettes.

On the evening of the murder, they let themselves into her home and asked Miss Wrightson to go to the shop for them.

Both had been drinking before they arrived and the older girl told the court she had taken prescription drugs earlier in the day.

Gerry Wareham, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said on Wednesday: "In our society it is hard to imagine that two girls of such a young age could be capable of such violence.

"The attack that the girls committed against Angela Wrightson was brutal and sustained. One can only imagine the fear and distress that she must have felt in the final hours of her life."

Detective Chief Superintendent Peter McPhillips, of Cleveland Police, said he had never come across a crime like it in his 25-year career.

The girls will be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court.