Jack Woodley murder: teen killers sentenced

Advertisement

Jack Woodley was stabbed to death by one of the teenagers while the others joined in a brutal attack on him

The mother of an 18-year-old who was murdered by a group of teenagers while walking home from a carnival has opened up about the devastating moment she found out he was dead.

Advertisement

Zoey McGill spoke out after the 10 teenagers who killed her son Jack Woodley were sentenced to life in prison.

He was stabbed and assaulted in Houghton le Spring, Sunderland on October 16 last year.

Advertisement

After finding out what happened to her son, Zoey knew “instantly” that he might not survive.

Jack Woodley.

“We were told to give him a kiss and say goodbye”

Advertisement

In an emotional interview, Zoey spoke about the hours after Jack was rushed to the hospital and the aftermath of her son’s death.

She said: “We went to intensive care, it just wasn’t my son. It was like he was looking at someone else, bloated from all the treatment he’d had. We went to hold his hand and were stopped because it was evidence.

Advertisement

“So we just had to stand up to him and the nurses gave us gloves and gowns so we could hold his hand.”

Jack died during the operation and Zoey said: “We were told to give him a kiss and say goodbye before they brought him down. That was pretty powerful.

Advertisement

“And when the surgeon came and sat me down he was just as emotional as I was and he was just a stranger to Jack, he just apologized and kept apologizing for not being able to save his life.

“I remember screaming when the surgeon told me to, but then I would just — I don’t know, I think I was just in shock.

Advertisement

“The days after were terrible. I just remember waking up at home and looking out my bedroom window and telling myself over and over it was just a dream.”

“He wanted to make his mom proud”

Advertisement

Speaking of her son, she said: “Jack had gotten over a few issues in his life and things were looking good, he had just applied to Amazon and got a new job there to start the Monday after him died.

“He wanted to make his mother proud. We always called him naughty blue-eyed guy because he was just that, naughty but in a nice, loving way. He used to light up every room you walked in, always cracking jokes and laughing.”

Advertisement

And in a stark warning about the dangers of carrying knives, Zoey said, “Don’t do it, don’t carry a knife — don’t put yourself in a position where you could possibly use it.”

Watch the full interview below.

Advertisement

Group ‘was looking for an excuse to attack someone’

Jack was fatally stabbed after being “surrounded and isolated” by a gang of youths chasing him down an alley

Advertisement

He was punched, kicked, kicked and stabbed with a 25cm “Rambo-style” knife during the Oct. 16 attack, a jury was told.

Cell phone footage heard one of the teenagers shouting, “Get the chopper,” meaning the knife.

Advertisement

Prosecutors said the group went out “that day looking for serious trouble” and tried to create “conflict” with Mr Woodley at the festival when they were “looking for an excuse to attack someone”.

On Friday, the 15-year-old, who inflicted the fatal wound by stabbing Mr Woodley in the back, was jailed for at least 17 years.

Advertisement

Judge Rodney Jameson QC sentenced the other nine defendants, aged between 14 and 18, to at least eight to 15 years’ imprisonment.

He told them that if they were then released, they would remain licensed for the rest of their lives.

Advertisement

The total minimum terms for all defendants add up to 124 years and six months.

Nine of the young people, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had denied murder and manslaughter.

Advertisement

One pleaded guilty to manslaughter, admitting to stabbing Mr Woodley but denied intending to kill him, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Earlier in the trial in March, prosecutor Mark McKone QC said that while only one youth stabbed Mr Woodley, the other nine were guilty under the “collective enterprise concept”.

Advertisement

A jury in June convicted all 10 defendants of murder.

Nine of them intend to appeal their convictions, prosecutors confirmed this week.

Advertisement

“No judgment can give Jack back to his family and loved ones”

Jack Woodley.

Judge Jameson sentenced the group, saying: “No judgment can give Jack back to his family and loved ones or ease the pain they will endure now and in the future.

Advertisement

“It may seem unfair that as a young man you can live in freedom when Jack cannot because of what you have done.”

He said the group attacked Mr Woodley “solely for the excitement and pleasure of causing serious injury to a completely innocent and randomly chosen stranger”.

Advertisement

The judge told the defendants that the violence inflicted on Mr Woodley “while short-lived was appalling” and that they all “played a role in causing Jack’s death”.

He said six of the teenagers testified at the trial but none were “willing to tell the truth about what the others did”.

Advertisement

He told them: “You have decided to put your own interests and those of your co-defendants ahead of those of Jack and his family. You did everything to deny them justice.

“I’m sure you regret what happened for many reasons, but regret is not regret.”

Advertisement

Judge Jameson said of the teenager who stabbed Mr Woodley: “I have come to the conclusion that when you inflicted the second stab wound you meant to kill. I accept that the intent may have been formed in the heat of the moment.

“However, it is this type of escalation that can occur when violence is committed by mob hands and armed with a deadly knife.”

Advertisement

“The consequences can destroy lives forever”

Joanne Brooks, Chief Inspector of Northumbria Police’s SenioDetective, said: “Our thoughts continue to be with Jack’s family following his tragic death and we will continue to support them in any way we can.

Advertisement

“They have shown incredible courage in sharing the devastating impact of their loss and encouraging others to think twice about carrying a gun and engaging in violence.

“In the hours leading up to the fatal attack, Jack was having the time of his life at a Houghton carnival. He’d even called his mom to tell him what a great time he was having.

Advertisement

“He had a lot to celebrate because he had just picked up the keys to his first apartment the day before and was just days away from starting a new job.

“Jack had his whole life ahead of him but tragically he would never stay a night in his apartment and never get his new job. Just minutes after speaking to his mother, he was attacked and fatally injured by a group of teenagers.

Advertisement

Det Chief Insp Brooks hopes the case is a serious reminder of the potential consequences of choosing to carry a gun.

She added: “As an armed force, we want to send an unequivocal message to anyone who chooses to carry a weapon of any kind – or becomes involved in serious violence – there is never an acceptable excuse and the consequences can destroy lives forever.” .”

Advertisement