The troubled lives of the teenage killers

Angela Wrightson  was beaten to death in her home by two teenage girls in a crime that has shocked the UK.
Angela Wrightson was beaten to death in her home by two teenage girls in a crime that has shocked the UK.

Two gloating teenage girls absconded from care homes 18 times in the 30 nights before battering a vulnerable woman to death in a bloody orgy of violence that shocked Britain, it has emerged.

The girls were just 13 and 14 when they spent nine hours battering frail Angela Wrightson with her few meagre possessions, including a television set, a shovel and a coffee table.

Despite the 39-year-old begging for her life, the pair stopped the assault only to pose for selfies which they sent to friends on social network Snapchat, before calling police to give them a lift home.

Miss Wrightson, who was 5ft 4ins and weighed six-and-a-half stone, was found dead in the blood-spattered front room of her terraced home just 17 days before Christmas.

According to the Daily Mail, the two teenagers - who cannot be named because of their age - befriended the frail alcoholic because she would buy them cider.

But on December 8, 2014, they turned on the defenceless woman, torturing her for hours in a bloody and horrific ordeal.

Using multiple weapons for the ferocious beating, they 'heaped indignities' on their victim by stripping her half-naked and defiling her body.

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

Police found Miss Wrightson suffered 100 injuries inflicted by weapons including a coffee table, television set, computer printer, wooden stick laced with screws, shovel and a kettle.

The attack began in the early evening. At 9pm, the girls stopped to take a selfie. In the photo, the two girls can be seen smiling, while Angela is cowering in the background with bruises on her face.

Two 15-year-old girls who "battered and tortured" a woman to death in her own home have been found guilty of murder.
Two 15-year-old girls who "battered and tortured" a woman to death in her own home have been found guilty of murder.

The girls left the house for a 'timeout' at 11pm, to visit a friend. When he asked about blood on their clothes, they told him they had both fallen over. They returned to Miss Wrightson's house at 2am, before calling the police at 4am to take them back to their separate care homes. The officers said they were in 'high spirits'.

The younger girl even took a photo of her friend in the back of the police van, posting it online with the caption: 'Me and (name) in the back on the bizzie van again.'

The appalling murder sent shockwaves across the UK and raised urgent questions about troubled children are cared for.

Authorities have been accused of being 'failures' and the detective who led the inquiry described the murder as the most brutal of his career.

As disturbing details emerged of the killers' feral lifestyles roaming the streets of Hartlepool, it was revealed that:

• The girls absconded from care homes 18 times in the 30 nights before the cold-blooded murder but were still free to kill;

• Police officers drove them home without question at 4am after they left Miss Wrightson dying from her injuries;

• Faced with a dangerous and uncontrollable teenager, social workers simply told one of the girls to 'draw pictures' to calm down;

• The girls, many of whose relatives were either in prison or addicted to drugs, happily described themselves as 'partners in crime';

• On the day of the attack, the elder girl went to her family home, but her mother told her: 'F*** off and kill yourself.'

• Prosecutors said it was 'hard to imagine' that two girls of such a young age could be capable of such violence in our society;

• An independent review is investigating why agencies charged with caring for the girls failed to spot the danger they posed.

Meanwhile, social workers described Girl A as the 'most volatile young person' they had come across.

Girl A's "savage" upbringing

At the age of 11, she began taking drugs and got drunk on a regular basis. And on the day of the murder, she was high on strong painkillers given to her by her mother.

The girl survived a childhood devoid of stability or structure. By the time she reached the care system, she had been exposed to savage domestic violence at home.

She watched boyfriends beat her mother. And the 15-year-old would often fly into fits of rage of her own, trashing her care home bedroom and lashing out at family members.

The girl has three siblings but shares a father with just one of them. Asked whether she knew the fathers of her siblings, she replied: 'They are in jail now, all of them.'

Her violent tempers became so serious that she was given a strategy to cope by her local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

Mental health experts said she had a personality disorder and had little understanding of the consequences of her actions. They told her to draw pictures as a way of expressing her anger and calming herself down.

On the day of the attack, Girl A went to her family home, hoping to spend time with her mother. But her mother told her: 'F*** off and kill yourself.'

Girl B more stable

Girl B was considered the less aggressive of the pair by a social worker who worked with them, but she is the one who used her smartphone to take chilling pictures of their dying victim.

Girl B, now 15 but who was 13 at the time of the killing, was from a more stable family background than Girl A.

Her father is in full-time work and her parents attended court to support her.
But she ran away from home several times.

A photo issued by police when she ran away three years ago shows Girl B looking like an ordinary schoolgirl but she was prone to losing her temper. Her parents could not cope and she was taken into care.

Although she is a year younger than her accomplice, many said she was the dominant one. Girl A's sibling said their relationship was a worry because Girl B had the potential to be a bad influence.

The sibling said: 'I told Girl B to stop coming to my house as I didn't think that her and my sister were good together. I was aware they were going missing together and this worried me as I thought my sister was too young to be out at night.'

The girls absconded from their care homes 18 times in the month leading up to the murder, and attempts to keep the girls apart were met with disdain by Girl B, who was determined to stay close to her best friend.

She texted Girl A: 'We're not allowed no contact with each other? Who's not allowed no contact with each other? LMFAOOO [Laugh my f*****g a*** off, off, off]. We will be with each other through thick and thin. F*****g crank man, just cos you are my little partner in crime. Putting me out of town, thinking that we still won't get in touch with each other and s***. Hahaha. Well, I can't wait to see you when I'm down. Get f*****g mortal!! Love you, Gorgeous Girl!!!!'

Girl B was fixated on her smartphone. In the days before the murder she begged her foster carers for a new phone and was given one.

She used the phone throughout the attack on Angela Wrightson to take pictures, send messages to friends and play pop music on YouTube.

A social worker said Girl B's mother was 'proactive' in trying to discipline and control her, but she had problems with authority figures and became angry when discussing her care arrangements.


During the trial, the jury were shown a variety of evidence including a picture taken by one of the girls in the back of a police van.

Both girls denied murder. The older girl admitted manslaughter on the grounds on diminished responsibility, but the younger girl denied contributing to Miss Wrightson's injuries, or encouraging her friend. Her defence counsel said she was 'preoccupied' with her mobile phone at the time.

During an eight-week trial at Leeds Crown Court, shocking details emerged of how the girls' lives spiralled into alcohol and violence. They began taking a cocktail of drink and drugs aged 11, frequently ran away from their care homes together and absconded from school. A former neighbour said: 'Separately they were all right, they could be quite sweet girls, but together they were devils.'

The older girl, now aged 15 and referred to as Girl A, was described by her social services tutor as 'the most volatile young person' she had come across.

The younger killer, also now aged 15 and referred to as Girl B, used her smartphone to document the attack and gloat to friends.

Both girls sobbed uncontrollably as they were convicted of murder yesterday and warned they face life in prison. They will be sentenced tomorrow.

Mr Justice Globe said: 'There is only one sentence for a crime of murder and as far as these girls are concerned it is detention for life.'

Det Chief Supt Peter McPhillips, of Cleveland Police, said: 'This was a highly unusual and shocking incident. Throughout almost 25 years of service I have never come across such a brutal murder committed by such young girls.'

Gerry Wareham, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said the killers showed no remorse but instead 'laughed and smiled'. He added: '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.'

Former Cleveland officer Steve Matthews, who is now standing to run the force on a Ukip ticket, said there were 'real failures from all concerned'.

'I am not sure it is a police or a social service problem - it is a combination of all that which has completely failed her,' he said. 'They have failed that poor woman for her to die in such a horrific way.

'And as for the girls, why have people given up on them? When you go into care you assume they will be cared for.'

Miss Wrightson's mother Maureen said the harrowing final moments of her daughter's life would haunt her for the rest of her life. She said: 'No sentence, regardless of its severity, will ever bring Angie back.'

Trusting victim who opened her house up to teenagers who used her for alcohol

Murder victim Angela Wrightson was a kind and trusting woman who was lovely when she was sober, neighbours said after the murder.

Two 15-year-old girls who "battered and tortured" a woman to death in her own home have been found guilty of murder.
Two 15-year-old girls who "battered and tortured" a woman to death in her own home have been found guilty of murder.

Gangs of underage youths would come round to her terraced home and use it as a drinking den, with one neighbour claiming he had to clear her house with his dog on the occasions she became overwhelmed by teenagers.

The 39-year-old was also once banned from buying alcohol anywhere in the country having been involved in a number of drink-related incidents.

One of nine children, Miss Wrightson grew up in care. She was known in her area for calling 999 as a cry for help.

Neighbour Alan Dixon told how he had cleared her home with the help of his dog DJ.
He said: 'She was a kind, trusting, decent woman who was lovely when she was sober, but she was vulnerable in drink and she was taken advantage of by groups of kids.'

Speaking after her brutal killing, he added: 'They preyed on her because she was too kind-hearted to turn them away.

'They wanted her for drink, which they would steal from her and if she refused them they would turn nasty.'

Others in the street spoke of Ms Wrightson's kindness and her willingness to cook for others, with one claiming she brought pizzas round to one neighbour. She also gave chocolates to young children and fed the local dogs.

Despite her battle with drink, she was known for keeping a clean and tidy house, which she rented, and was always buying cleaning materials.

- Daily Mail

- Daily Mail

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