Angela Wrightson's murder: how was it able to happen?


Two teenage girls have been given life sentences, with a minimum of 15 years, for the brutal murder of Angela Wrightson at her home in Hartlepool.

The girls, who were 13 and 14 and at the time and both in the care system, used weapons including a television, a shovel, a coffee table and a stick studded with screws, to inflict more than 100 injuries during a five-hour ordeal in December 2014.

Read More: Angela Wrightson's murder - how it unfolded

So how was this able to happen?

A Hartlepool children's charity warned that social services locally are "overwhelmed" by vulnerable young people.

The trial, over the last seven weeks at Leeds Crown Court, heard how both girls had troubled lives, the older in particularly using drugs and witnessing a great deal of violence as a child.

A child psychologist told us that the girls lack the "sense of value about their own lives" needed "to understand what it would feel like to take somebody's else's."

WARNING: Tom Sheldrick's report contains details and images of the weapons used in the attack, which some viewers may find upsetting

The court heard today that Angela's mother said she would never be able to "blink away" the images of her daughter's battered body.

The judge said the girls, who were both in the care system, had carried out a "gratuitous and cowardly attack" that would have meant Angela "suffered considerably."

The girls, both now 15, showed little emotion today as their sentences were delivered. They are likely to begin their terms at secure units for young offenders.

The judge, Mr Justice Globe, upheld a ruling that the girls should not be identified, principally due to the fact that the older girl has attempted suicide several times during the trial, and there would be a "real and immediate risk to her life" if she was to be named.

Hartlepool Borough Council refused to respond directly to concerns around social services today, but authorities on Teesside have announced more details of the large-scale reviews they have commissioned to "determine whether the teenagers' actions could have been prevented by the agencies who were involved" with them.

Read More: Reviews by Safeguarding Boards will leave 'no stone unturned'

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