Nine teenagers given leave to appeal convictions for the murder of Jack Woodley

Jack was on his way home from the Houghton Feast funfair when he was attacked by the group of strangers. Credit: Family photo.

Nine of the 10 teenagers found guilty of murdering a teenager have been given permission to appeal their convictions.

Jack Woodley was fatally stabbed in the back with a "Rambo-style" knife after a group of youths surrounded and attacked him in Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, in October 2021.

The 18-year-old was making his way home from the Houghton Feast fair when he was attacked.

All male ten defendants were convicted of murder last June following a 78-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

None of teenagers can be identified for legal reasons.

The attack happened near the Britannia Inn in Houghton-le-Spring. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

One 15-year-old admitted delivering the fatal knife blow, admitting that he stabbed Mr Woodley but denying that he intended to kill him.

Nine of the teenagers launched a bid to have their convictions overturned, ahead of their sentencing in August.

The court of appeal has granted 'leave to appeal' to the nine teenagers, who are contesting the conviction secured under controversial joint enterprise legislation.

The families of the nine teenagers who are appealing their convictions argue the boys did not intend to kill Jack and should not have been convicted of murder.

They are being supported by JENGbA (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association), a group which campaigns on behalf of those convicted under the Joint Enterprise law, is supporting the families of the defendants.

What is joint enterprise?

The legal framework used to prosecute all of the ten teenagers for murder, even though only one of them used the deadly "rambo style" knife, is called 'joint enterprise'.

It is defined as a situation where someone who commits an offence is assisted or encouraged by others to carry it out.

In August, Jan Cunliffe, one of the founding members of the group, said she had not come across another case with so many defendants being convicted of murder.

"This case is quite unique, to have all 10 convicted of murder when there was only one carrying a knife," she said.

"To the best of my knowledge that hasn't happened. And they are all such a young age."

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