THE evidence in the Jack Woodley murder case has almost concluded nearly six weeks after the start of the trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

Jurors in the case were told there may only be a short amount of evidence, from a re-called witness, to be heard before the start of the prosecution closing submissions and the defence speeches on behalf of the ten teenage defendants.

Judge Rodney Jameson will then outline the law and sum up the evidence to the jury before they retire to consider their verdicts.

But members of the jury have been asked about the possibility of them sitting into a Saturday, a rarity in English courts, if they have not reached their verdicts by close of play on Friday May 6.

The defendants each deny a charge of murder over their alleged role in the killing of the 18-year-old victim, who was surrounded, punched and kicked in a mob attack after being chased from the Houghton Feast funfair, in Houghton-le-Spring, on the night of Saturday October 16, last year.

During the attack, as the gang rained blows on the defenceless victim in an alleyway, off The Broadway, alongside The Britannia pub, the fatal stab wound was inflicted.

A 15-year-old youth has admitted responsibility for inflicting the blow but claims he did not deliberately stab Mr Woodley and only produced the knife from the waist band of his jogging bottoms intending to scare off any of his friends in the vicinity.

He admits manslaughter, but denies murder, while the other nine defendants, all aged 14 to 17 at the time, each also deny murder.

Read more: Jack Woodley trial: Teenager died after stab wound to the back

Evidence from the last defendants to take the witness stand was heard today (Thursday April 21).

The 16-year-old, then aged 15, reached into the melee as Mr Woodley was being attacked and grabbed him, before flinging him over.

He claims that having seen the initial blow by one of the other defendants he went in to try to break up the fight and was attempting to pull the victim away.

But he said he was bitten on the arm, and as the victim fell onto him, as he slipped to the ground, he flung him to get him off rather than as an aggressive gesture.

He said he then realised he was going to be unable to end the violence, as more youths joined in, so he fled the scene, unaware Mr Woodley had been stabbed.

Caroline Goodwin QC, counsel for another of the defendants, now aged 18, said he would not be giving evidence.

But she presented four character testimonials to the court on his behalf, submitted by his employer and manager, a former school head of year, and a disabled neighbour who he offered assistance to as a youngster.


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