Teenage killer of Jack Woodley 'glorifying himself' from prison, says MP Paul Howell

Sedgefield MP Paul Howell raised the issue of phone use in prison in Parliament after a video appearing to show one the teenage killers of Jack Woodley (inset) rapping from behind bars appeared on social media. Credit: Parliament TV/Family

An MP has criticised the "growing issue" of mobile phone use in prison after a video appeared on social media by the teenager convicted of murdering 18-year-old Jack Woodley.

Sedgefield MP Paul Howell said one of the teenagers found guilty of killing Jack was using social media to "glorify himself" from behind bars.

A video appearing to show one of his killers rapping from jail was highlighted by Zoey McGill, Jack's mother, earlier this year. The video, initially posted on TikTok, has been removed.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Howell said: "My Newton Aycliffe constituent Zoey McGill suffered from appalling knife crime when her son Jack Woodley was killed in 2021.

"She is now suffering again, as one of the perpetrators is using social media from custody to glorify himself.

"Does the Attorney General agree that such actions should be prosecuted, and that the consequences should be publicised to ensure that they become a deterrent against others glorifying themselves from our prisons?"

In response, Attorney General Victoria Prentis described the case as "horrific". She added: "This is why it's so important we crack down on mobile phone use and indeed mobile phone existence within prison.

"The Government have put in £100million to ensure that prisons now have airport-style security to make sure it's much more difficult to get mobile phones in.

"It's very serious when incidents like this happen."

Mr Howell said he wanted to see improved detection technologies in prison and more sanctions to act as a deterrent to those behind bars.

The Ministry of Justice said it thoroughly investigates all incidents of social media misuse and had worked with TikTok to remove the content.

A Youth Custody Service spokesperson said: “This video has since been removed and the account shut down.

“We do not tolerate drugs and mobile phones in prison and those found with them face extra time behind bars. Our £100m investment in prison security has also helped us uncover more than 46,000 attempts to smuggle contraband into jails.”

Jack Woodley was murdered in 2021 when he was stabbed while leaving the Houghton Feast. Credit: Family

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.

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

Last year, they lost appeals against their convictions.

Seven of the teenagers, who are now over the age of 18, were named by a judge last year.

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