Gang of teens hacked 18-year-old with ‘Rambo knife’ as he walked home from fair

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A gang of teenage thugs have been found guilty of murder after they brutally attacked an 18-year-old as he walked home from a funfair.

Jack Woodley was punched, kicked, stamped on, and stabbed with a 25cm long "Rambo-style" knife after he was “surrounded and isolated” by ten youths, a jury heard.

The court was told how the attack took place after Jack was chased down an alleyway by a pub in Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland on October 16 last year.

The 10 male defendants, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had all been charged with murder, with an alternative count of manslaughter.

One of the teenagers had already pleaded guilty to manslaughter, admitting that he stabbed Mr Woodley but denying that he intended to kill him, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

But on Wednesday, a jury convicted all 10 defendants of murder.

At the start of the trial in March, prosecutor Mark McKone QC said Mr Woodley and the defendants, whom he did not know, had been to the Houghton Feast before the attack.

He told jurors the attack happened outside the Britannia Inn as the teenagers walked away from the festival.

Mr McKone said the defendants, who were all aged between 14 and 17 at the time, “surrounded and isolated Jack”, covering their heads as they prepared to attack him.

He told the court one of the defendants first put Mr Woodley in a headlock and punched him, before the others "joined in".

Jurors were told one of them was heard shouting "get the chopper" – referring to the knife – in mobile phone footage of the incident.

The court heard one of the youths was "armed with a very dangerous knife", while another admitted taking a knuckle duster out that night, but denied hitting Mr Woodley with it.

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Mr McKone told jurors Mr Woodley was outnumbered as the group "not only attacked him but prevented him from escaping and other people from helping him".

He said: “The prosecution say, based on the available evidence, that the defendants went out looking for serious trouble that day.”

Jurors were told one female witness had gone to the first defendant’s house earlier that day, where he had shown her "a machete style knife" and told her he had previously stabbed two people with it.

Mr McKone said the witness met up with him again an hour later, and four of his male friends, who talked about him "being in a gang" and "discussed how they were going to find someone tonight at the feast".

“This supports the prosecution’s case that this attack was planned and the stabbing was planned, albeit they had no particular victim in mind at this stage,” he said.

Jurors were told another female witness had kissed another of the defendants at the festival. She was then hit by a friend of his ex-girlfriend.

Mr McKone said when Mr Woodley, who did not know any of the defendants, asked one of them if he knew why the young woman had been hit, the defendant asked Mr Woodley "if he was starting".

Mr Woodley’s girlfriend told police she was with him at the funfair when a "big group of lads came over saying Jack had said he was going to punch one of them".

Mr McKone said: “This was the group trying to create conflict with Jack so they could attack him.”

Several witnesses described the gang then putting their hoods up and "circling Jack from behind" before the fatal attack.

The court heard Mr Woodley died the next day.

The teenagers were remanded in custody until their sentencing in August.

  • Knife Crime
  • Crime
  • Courts

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