'Let Jack rest': Jack Woodley's mum's fear as teens allowed to appeal murder conviction

Zoey McGill said she has spent sleepless nights at her son's grave since the decision was announced. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees/Family photo

A mother has said she is being forced to relive the nightmare of her teenage son's murder after nine of his 10 convicted killers were given permission to appeal.

Jack Woodley, 18, 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.

All 10 defendants, aged between 14 and 17, were convicted of murder last June following a 78-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court under the 'joint enterprise' law.

Joint enterprise applies to situations in which someone who commits an offence is assisted or encouraged by others to carry it out.

The nine convicted murderers who did not use the knife launched a bid to have their convictions overturned ahead of their sentencing in August.

The court of appeal has now granted them "leave to appeal".

Zoey McGill, Jack's mother, told ITV News she has spent sleepless and fearful nights at her son's grave since the decision was announced.

She dreads the prospect of Jack's convicted killers winning their appeal and wants them to accept the original decision.

"It just brings everything back," she said.

"I'd have rather them admit what they did [...] and let Jack rest."

Ms McGill, clutching a bear made from Jack's clothes, added that she is being re-traumatised by the process.

"It's very hard. I haven't slept. I spend most nights at his grave frightened that there is a chance they could be re-trialed and get off with what they did to Jack."

The nine are supported by the campaign group Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA) which is opposed to the use of joint enterprise charges in court.

"Murder is the most heinous crime and it comes with a heavier sentence so we have to get it right," said the JENGbA's founder and director Jan Cuncliffe.

"The courts should be getting it right - who did it, what they did and what part they played.

"It shouldn't be used as a lazy way of locking people up just because they can."

Ms Cuncliffe said "to the best of my knowledge" the case is unique in the number of people convicted when only one was carrying a knife, particularly given the age of the defendants.

It was one of the biggest news stories of our time - and it's still not over. So what did Boris Johnson know about Downing Street’s notorious parties? With fresh revelations from our Number 10 sources, in their own words, listen to the inside story...