Jack Woodley: 10 youths who killed teenager at funfair lose appeals

191021 - Jack Woodley Houghton stabbing - family photo
Jack Woodley was attacked and killed while leaving the Houghton Feast, in Houghton-le-Spring, in October 2021. Credit: Family

An appeal by 10 teenagers convicted of the murder of 18-year-old Jack Woodley has been dismissed.

The young people, who were aged between 14 and 17 at the time of Jack's death, were convicted of murder in 2022.

Jack died in October 2021 after he was attacked and stabbed in the back while making his way home from the Houghton Feast, in Houghton-le-Spring.

He died in hospital the following night.

While one of them wielded the knife, nine others were convicted under the principle of joint enterprise by encouraging or assisting with an offence.

The teenagers, who were jailed for a total of more than 120 years following a trial, had appealed the conviction on the grounds that the judge had acted "unfairly" towards them.

Dismissing the appeals, in a judgement published on Friday 29 September, Justice Holroyde said he was satisfied the convictions are safe.

Appeal judges also ruled that most of the teenagers should be identified, naming them as Clayton Owen, Sonny Smith, Joe Lathan, Leighton Mayo, Blaine Sewell, Grant Wheatley and Calum Maddison.

The three youngest of the group, who are all 16, will remain anonymous.

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

One of the youths, who was aged 15 at the time, admitted stabbing Mr Woodley in the back with a 25cm (9in)-long "Rambo-style" knife but claimed it was an accident.

The knife used to stab Jack Woodley after the Houghton Feast in October 2021. Credit: CPS

Following the decision, Jack's mother Zoe McGill told ITV Tyne Tees that justice had been served.

She added: "I'm really pleased. It's like a big weight has been lifted. The last two years have been soul-destroying.

"To get this result today is everything we've been hoping for. It's nice to finally be able to let Jack rest."

She added: "It's been unbearable, not just for myself but all Jack's friends.

"We can start to rebuild our lives."

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