The mother of a teenage girl convicted of the murder of Angela Wrightson in Hartlepool has told ITV News Tyne Tees that she believes social services failed her daughter - and what happened could have been prevented.
In an exclusive interview with our Social Affairs Correspondent Tom Sheldrick, she also offered an apology to Miss Wrightson's parents.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was just 13 when she and a 14-year-old girl, who was also in care, battered Angela to death in December 2014.
A number of reviews have started to find out if social services and other authorities missed opportunities to intervene.
Hartlepool Borough Council told us those reviews will consider the concerns raised by the younger girl's mother.
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The girls were 13 and 14 years old when they murdered Angela Wrightson, 39, in Hartlepool.
She was a vulnerable alcoholic who invited them into her home for company, and bought them alcohol and cigarettes.
The girls were both in care in Hartlepool - the younger in a foster home - but they had run away together 20 times in the previous month.
That night in December 2014, with no apparent motive, they used household objects to inflict more than 100 injuries to Angela's body, before leaving her for dead.
In April, both then aged 15, the girls were convicted of murder, and sentenced to 15 years detention. The judge ruled that their anonymity should be protected.
In an exclusive interview, the younger girl's mother says her daughter had a normal family life, and no diagnosed conditions that would explain her behaviour. She says she started getting into trouble, and going missing from home, after starting secondary school. She claims social services in Hartlepool did not take her daughter's case seriously enough.
The mother refused to take responsibility, as a parent, for what her daughter did.
She said: "she makes her own choices in life. I tried my best. I couldn't be watching her 24 hours a day. I just feel like they didn't give me enough help."
Questioned over whether the murder could have been prevented, she replied:
The younger girl's mother also said she could not understand how her daughter could act in such a brutal manner.
The mother said: "She was always a lovely girl. It's just, since she got older, listening to the wrong people. I don't know why this happened. She never actually had a fight or anything - never been violent."
She said it was "heartbreaking" to have "lost everything... my daughter, who I miss so much."
The mother offered an apology to Angela Wrightson's parents:
Hartlepool Borough Council, which runs social services in the town, told ITV News Tyne Tees that the mother's concerns would be raised as part of major reviews underway to see if authorities missed opportunities to intervene.
Tomorrow, we will focus on the pressures on social services around the region, with exclusive figures on the number of cases social workers are having to deal with.
If you would like to contribute to our coverage, please contact me via:
- Email: Tom.Sheldrick@itv.com
- Twitter: @TomSheldrickITV