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  1. ITV Report

Angela Wrightson murder: Reports find opportunities missed to protect vulnerable woman killed in Hartlepool

Angela Wrightson

A series of opportunities were missed to protect a vulnerable Hartlepool woman who was later murdered by two teenage girls in her own home.

Three reports into the case of Angela Wrightson have found that over a five-month period in 2013 “a number of concerning incidents... should have resulted in a full adult safeguarding investigation”, but this did not happen.

Despite this, the reviews concluded “no professional or agency could have foreseen that [Angela] would be murdered or predicted the actions of the young people.”

Angela Wrightson was 39 when she was beaten to death in her own home in Hartlepool in December 2014, by girls then aged 13 and 14.

The teenagers were both in the care system, while Angela was an alcoholic who had been in and out of prison, and was also in contact with social workers.

Last April, the killers were given life sentences, with a minimum of 15 years detention. The judge ruled they should not be named, because of their young ages.

Today, a series of independent reviews have been published by Hartlepool Safeguarding Children Board and the Teesside Safeguarding Adults Board into how local agencies handled all three of those involved in the case.

  • All three reports said that agencies involved did not work well enough together, share information, or escalate plans properly when further incidents occurred.
  • In the two years before her death, there were 1,000 recorded direct contacts between Angela and mental health, alcohol, ambulance and hospital services.
  • She had mental health issues and a dependency on alcohol. In August 2013, two women were using her house without her consent, to have paid sex. This information was passed to the police, but not passed on to the community safety team.
  • The reports detailed that both girls came from chaotic home lives, were suspected of using drugs and alcohol, and being the victims of sexual exploitation.
  • Four weeks before Angela’s murder, the 14-year-old girl assaulted three members of staff at her children’s home. She was given a police warning as the staff did not want criminal action taken.
  • The reports found professionals “struggle to provide an effective service to vulnerable adolescents."
Angela Wrightson

During the trial in 2016 the court heard that the girls and other young people often visited Angela's home on Stephen Street in Hartlepool, to demand she buy them cigarettes and alcohol.

In a brutal attack, with no apparent motive, they inflicted more than 100 injuries to Angela, using weapons including a television, a piece of wood studded with screws, and a shovel.

At one point, they stopped to send a selfie - their victim seen cowering in the background, bruising visible to her face.

In the early hours of the morning, they were then heard giggling as they called police for a lift home. They had been reported missing, but they did not admit to what they had done, and the police did not suspect them at that stage.

The girls posed to take a selfie with their victim on social media.

Sentencing the girls, Mr Justice Globe told them they "acted together in a gratuitous and cowardly attack."

In an exclusive interview with ITV News Tyne Tees last June, the younger girl's father said she believed the authorities could have prevented the murder, had they taken her daughter's case seriously, and given her a foster placement outside of Hartlepool. Hartlepool Borough Council told us these reviews would consider her concerns.

Angela Wrightson's family also told ITV News Tyne Tees they would like to create 'Angie's Law', which would give authorities more powers to intervene and protect vulnerable people in their own homes.

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