Two teenage girls have been found guilty of murdering 39-year-old Angela Wrightson at her home in Hartlepool.

Miss Wrightson was found dead in her living room. She had suffered more than 100 injuries, including 80 to her face.

Her killers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, started crying as the verdicts were read out at Leeds Crown Court. They were immediately led away from the dock.

The trial heard the pair visited Miss Wrightson, who was an alcoholic and known to some as “Alco Ange”, on a number of occasions as she would buy them alcohol and cigarettes.

The teenagers, aged 13 and 14 at the time, had been drinking and used a variety of weapons to carry out the “sustained and brutal” attack on 8 December 2014.


One of the girls took this photo after the murder. Pic: Cleveland Police

The seven-week trial heard the assault took place over five hours and items including a wooden stick laced with screws, TV set, coffee table, shovel and a computer printer were used.

Jurors were told Miss Wrightson was forcibly restrained while the pair battered and tortured her.

While at the house, the younger girl made a phone call over Facebook to a friend who heard her say: “Go on (older girl). Smash her head in. Bray her. F****** kill her,” as another laughed in the background.

Her body was discovered by her landlord in an “undignified manner”, naked from the waist down on her sofa.¬†Her living room was described as “akin to a bomb site”.

After the verdicts, Cleveland Police released a photograph taken by one of two girls when they were getting a lift in the back of a police van only hours after the murder.

Gerry Wareham, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North East, said: “Given the severity of their assault on Miss Wrightson, one would expect the girls to have shown a degree of remorse in the wake of her death.

“Instead, they laughed and smiled while posing for a ‘selfie’, with each continuing to deny that they had murdered her throughout the investigation and prosecution of this case.”


A photo of Miss Wrightson taken by one of two girls. Pic: Cleveland Police

He added: “It is difficult to find appropriate words to describe the events that took place in the home of Angela Wrightson on the night she was killed.

“In our society it is hard to imagine that two girls of such a young age could be capable of such violence.

“The attack that the girls committed against Angela Wrightson was brutal and sustained. One can only imagine the fear and distress that she must have felt in the final hours of her life.”

Miss Wrightson’s family released a statement saying: “Listening to the details of her injuries and of her final moments has been a harrowing experience and something which will continue to haunt us each and every day.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Peter McPhillips, of Cleveland Police, said those involved with the case had been “shocked” by the severity of the attack.

“They still don’t understand the gravity of what they have done,” he said of the girls.

“This was a highly unusual and shocking incident. Throughout almost 25 years of service I have never come across such a brutal murder committed by such young girls.

“In my experience this is an almost unique investigation in terms of the age of the offenders and the fact that they are girls,” he added.

The pair, now both 15, will be sentenced on 7 April.

Hartlepool Borough Council said an independent safeguarding adult review is being undertaken regarding Miss Wrightson, while independent Serious Case Reviews are being carried out in respect of the two children .

Chief executive Gill Alexander said: “The two children were receiving services from the Council and other agencies, but until the ongoing Serious Case Reviews are concluded, it would not be appropriate to comment on the circumstances of the children at this time.

“Incidents like this are extremely rare, but we need to do everything possible to try to better understand what motivated the two children to behave as they did.”