Jack Woodley murder: Three teens named for first time as they appeal murder conviction

Clayton Owen, Grant Wheatley and Sonny Smith were among the 10 convicted of the murder of Jack Woodley. Credit: Family

Three teenagers convicted for the murder of an 18-year-old who was stabbed to death have been named for the first time.

Ten youths were convicted for the murder of Jack Woodley, who was stabbed and died in Houghton-le-Spring in October 2021.

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

Ten boys, aged between 14 and 17 at the time, were found guilty of murder and jailed for a total of more than 120 years following a trial last year. They are appealing the conviction.

Jack Woodley, 18, was stabbed and killed near the Houghton Feast funfair in 2021. Credit: Family

One of the boys wielded the knife, while the other nine were convicted under the principle of joint enterprise by encouraging or assisting with an offence.

Seven of the teenagers, including the-then 15-year-old who stabbed Mr Woodley, cannot be identified.

Three of the men can now be identified as they have turned 18. They are Grant Wheatley, 18, Clayton Owen, 19, and Sonny Smith, 18.

A court last year heard they acted as as gang, rounding on Woodley and attacking him outside the funfair.

Their appeal is being held in London, where lawyers representing the youths told the court a two-week break and comments the judge made had harmed the case.

They claim the judge acted "unfairly" towards them.

A lawyer acting for one of the teenagers said in summing up evidence, the judge spoke in a way that suggested he did not believe that he was acting to defend a friend.

The knife used to stab Jack Woodley. Credit: Crown Prosecution Service

One lawyer accused the judge of "bias" while another said their client "had not received a fair trial".

A lawyer for the prosecution insisted the judge's approach had been fair and there was nothing wrong with it.

Speaking before the hearing, Mr Woodley’s mother Zoe McGill said she was feeling nervous. She added: “I’ve spent the last few days with Jack. I hope we can finally lay him to rest and the legal battle will be over and we can be left alone to grieve for Jack.”

A ruling from the three appeal court judges on whether all 10 convictions should stand is due within the next few months.

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