A JUDGE has given legal directions to a jury before they begin deliberating in the trial of ten teenagers accused of murdering an 18-year-old during a savage gang attack.

Jack Woodley, from Newton Aycliffe, was beaten, kicked and stamped on before he was stabbed in the back as he left the funfair at Houghton Feast last year.

The trial of the youngsters, who were aged 14-17 at the time, began in early March and has revealed graphic details of the brutal nature of the attack on Jack.

Summing up, Judge Rodney James QC reminded jurors how Jack was punched from behind as he left by a 16-year-old boy, who got him in a headlock, before others joined in.

Read more: County Durham man admits dangerous driving before horror crash on A1

The jury was told Jack curled in a ball to protect himself before he was stabbed in the back by a 15-year-old with a ‘Rambo-style’ knife near the Britannia Inn in Houghton-le-Spring.

The incident took place on October 16 and Jack died the following evening at the RVI in Newcastle.

A 15-year-old boy, who confessed to stabbing Jack, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but denies murder.

Judge James said: “The only issue for you to determine is whether he intended that Jack should be either killed or caused really serious harm, either by his own actions or by the actions of others.

“When you look at what he did you are not looking at it in isolation but in the context of what other people were doing at the same time.”

The remaining nine defendants deny both charges of murder and manslaughter.

The judge said: “As far as each of the other nine defendants are concerned, the issues are whether it is proved in each case that the defendant deliberately encouraged him.

“What this means is that they were acting in a way as part of a joint enterprise, encouraging others present.

“They only have to act in a way that is taking part in a joint enterprise, deliberately encouraging others present to use unlawful violence.”

The judge said the important point to consider was whether such behaviour was being displayed at the point of the fatal stabbing.

He said: “Someone who does not themselves inflict the fatal blow could only be guilty murder of either murder or manslaughter if they have deliberately encouraged others to use unlawful violence which did cause death.

“As we know the unlawful violence which did cause death was the unlawful stabbing in the back. The deliberate encouragement must take place at or before that time.

“The next issue is intent, and whether they intended that Jack should be either killed or caused really serious harm.”

The trial continues.


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 newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054