THE jury in the Jack Woodley murder trial were today told all ten defendants before the court took part in a “savage” group attack, intending him, “really serious harm or worse.”

Prosecution counsel Mark McKone was outlining the cases against all ten accused as he gave his closing speech at the end of the seventh week of the trial, at Newcastle Crown Court.

Mr Woodley was attacked after leaving Houghton Feast funfair, in Houghton-le-Spring, on its last night, on Saturday October 16, last year.

He was chased as he made for a bus home and cornered near two BT boxes on The Broadway, before the attack moved down an alleyway alongside The Britannia pub.

It is said that during the mob attack he suffered a fatal stab wound to the back, with a Rambo-style hunting knife, from which the 18-year-old, originally from Newton Aycliffe, but living in the Sunderland area at the time, died in hospital the following night.

The 15-year-old defendant who admits inflicting the stab wound has admitted manslaughter, on the basis he did not intend to use the knife, but only pulled it out to frighten off Mr Woodley or any of his friends.

As with the other nine defendants, all now aged 14 to 18, he denies murder.

Opening his closing address to the jury, Mr McKone told them: “The evidence suggests these defendants went to the Feast looking for trouble.”

He referred to the evidence of one of the accused, who admits putting on a knuckleduster when violence broke out, that, “trouble is usual on the last night of the Feast.”

Mr McKone said: “The defendants looked for, and found, a trivial excuse to fight him.

“Evidently, they didn’t listen when he told them he didn’t want to fight.

“One of the lads went over saying, apparently: ‘You have been saying you are going to punch one of our heads in’.

“Jack Woodley did not say anything.

“They rounded on him, harassed and jostled him, before the attack took place.”

Read more: Evidence heard from last of accused in Jack Woodley murder trial

Mr McKone said the fact that weapons were taken to the Feast, “suggests serious violence was planned”, including, “that pretty horrific knife, shows how sinister that violence was.”

He said the fact that one of the group could be heard saying: “Get the chopper out”, early in the violence indicates a knowledge of the presence of the knife among the accused.

Concluding his speech Mr McKone said the accused were part of, “a large group, who were all intent on injuring Jack very badly.”

He said: “That is the case against each defendant and we submit it’s strong in its own way.

“It’s not a case where the police have charged innocent people.

“It’s clear they took part in a group attack, a savage attack, and so many people intended Jack really serious harm, or worse.

“It’s an even more strong case when the defendants knew about the weapons involved.”

He added: “The prosecution says those who took part intended Jack really serious harm and are guilty of murder.”

The defence closing speeches will begin on Tuesday.


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054