A gang of teenagers hacked an 18-year-old with a ‘Rambo knife’ on his way home from the fair

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A gang of teenage thugs have been convicted of murder after they brutally attacked an 18-year-old on his way home from a funfair.

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

The court heard how the attack took place after Jack was chased down an alley 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 additional count of manslaughter.

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

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



Flowers and heartbreaking messages outside the Britannia Pub in Houghton-le-Spring where Jack Woodley, 18, was murdered last October

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

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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 between 14 and 17 at the time, “surrounded and isolated Jack”, covering their heads as they prepared to attack him.

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

Jurors were told one was heard shouting “get the helicopter” – referring to the knife – in cellphone footage of the incident.

The court heard one of the youngsters was ‘armed with a very dangerous knife’, while another admitted to pulling out a feather duster that night but denied hitting Mr Woodley with it.

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The Britannia Pub in Houghton-le-Spring where 18-year-old Jack Woodley was murdered
The Britannia Pub in Houghton-le-Spring where 18-year-old Jack Woodley was murdered

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

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

Jurors heard that a female witness had visited the first defendant’s home earlier in the day, where he showed her “a machete-like knife” and told her he had stabbed two people with it before.

Mr McKone said the witness found him an hour later, and four of his male friends, who spoke of him ‘being in a gang’ and ‘discussing how they were going to find someone this party night”.

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“It confirms the prosecution’s case that this attack was planned and the stabbing was planned, even though they had no particular victim in mind at this stage,” he said.



Newcastle Crown Court where Jack Woodley's attackers were remanded in custody until sentencing in August
Newcastle Crown Court where Jack Woodley’s attackers were remanded in custody until sentencing in August

Jurors heard that another female witness kissed another of the defendants at the festival and was punched by a friend of his ex-girlfriend.

Mr McKone said that when Mr Woodley, who did not know any of the defendants, asked one of them if he knew why the young woman had been beaten, the defendant asked Mr Woodley “s ‘he began”.

Mr Woodley’s girlfriend told police she was with him at the funfair when a ‘large group of guys came over saying Jack said he was going to hit one of them’.

Mr McKone said: ‘It was the group trying to create conflict with Jack so they could attack him.’

Several witnesses described the gang then putting on their balaclavas and “surrounding Jack from behind” before the fatal attack.

The court heard Mr Woodley died the following day.

The teenagers were remanded in custody until sentencing in August.

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