Two teenage girls subjected a 39-year-old woman to “gratuitous degradation” as they battered her to death in her home, according to a judge who sentenced them to an indefinite term in prison with aminimum of 15 years.
The pair were 13 and 14 when they murdered Angela Wrightson in the lounge of her home in Hartlepool, County Durham, in December 2014, using weapons that included a shovel, a TV, a coffee table, and a stick studded with screws during a five-hour long ordeal.
A judge at Leeds Crown Court recounted how Ms Wrightson suffered an “absolute minimum of 70 separate slash injuries and 54 separate blunt-force injuries — 71 were to the head and face, 31 were to the body, 22 were deflection injuries to the back of her hands, wrists, and arms as she tried to ward off the blows”.
Mr Justice Globe said it was a “cowardly attack” and that Ms Wrightson’s defensive injuries backed up one of the girls’ claims to friends that their victim was pleading with them to stop.
Dismissing an application by media organisations to lift an order banning their identification, he pointed to multiple suicide attempts by the older girl.
The teenagers showed no obvious emotion when the judge passed sentence, although one wiped away the occasional tear during the two-hour long hearing.
After they were taken from the court, a loud wail could be heard from the cell area.
The judge told them: “It was an attack that included gratuitous degradation.
She undoubtedly suffered con-siderably, both mentally and physically, before she ultimately lost consciousness and died.”
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. Fucking kill her,” as another laughed in the background.
A selfie posted to social media site Snapchat showed the defendants smiling with Ms Wrightson picture d in the background shortly befo re her death, with further selfies showing the girls drinking cider from a bottle.
The trial heard that the girls had visited Ms Wrightson, an alcoholic known as ‘Alco Ange’, on a number of occasions as she would buy alcohol and cigarettes for them.
The judge told the girls they would have been facing much longer sentences if they were adults.
He said he was effectively giving them a mandatory life sentence but told them that, because of their ages, this was referred to as “detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure”.
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