Ten teenagers jailed for horrifying Houghton Feast murder of 18-year-old

The murder of Jack Woodley has left the teenager’s family “imprisioned by grief and trauma”

Ten teenage boys who have left a family "imprisoned by grief and trauma" have been found guilty of murdering an 18-year-old last year.

Jack Woodley had been enjoying an evening out at Houghton Feast with his girlfriend and friends on Saturday, October 16 when he was attacked by the gang of violent youths.

The teenager received two stab wounds, one to his thigh and the second fatal injury to his back. He also sustained a number of other injuries consistent with a sustained assault.

Emergency services were called to nearby Newbottle Street where they found him fatally injured.

Jack, who was from County Durham, was taken to hospital but sadly passed away from his injuries the following night.

An investigation was immediately launched and in the coming days and weeks, a total of 10 teenagers, aged between 14 and 17, were arrested and subsequently charged with Jack’s murder.

Due to the age of the suspects, they are legally entitled to anonymity and cannot be named or identified in connection with this incident.

Today, Wednesday, June 1, a jury found the 10 teenagers guilty of murder.

They have been remanded in custody, awaiting sentencing in August.

Jack Woodley

Jack is survived by his father John Woodley, mother Zoey McGill, stepdad Chris McGill and three siblings.

Zoe, Jack’s mother would said: “Jack was my reason to live and succeed in life. From the moment Jack was born he brought light and love to us all.

“In the months before October, Jack had sat and passed his English and Math Level 3, CSCS Operatives Card, Forklift Truck License and had secured a job with Amazon which he was due to start the Monday after his death.

“Jack had also secured his own accommodation and had received the keys for this on the day he was attacked. We were all very proud of Jack and this should have been a very exciting time in his life.

“The devastation of losing Jack is immense and far-reaching. The trauma of reliving this whole incident over a long trial has had a devastating effect on us all. We cannot see a way of recovering from this.

“We feel imprisoned by our grief and trauma.

“No parent, loved one or friend should suffer someone going to a fair and losing them forever. We will never be able to share treasured family moments with our ‘cheeky chappy blue-eyed boy’ ever again.”

John, Jack’s father said: “It feels nearly impossible to put into words and describe how my life has changed after the passing of my beautiful son Jack.

“My heart has broken into a million pieces and the hurt this has caused is unmentionable.

Jack had just secured a job

“My son went to a fair with his girlfriend to enjoy a night out and he didn’t come back. The pain and fear he must have endured that night is unthinkable.

“Jack had his whole life ahead of him, he was just 18 years old. Those who attacked our Jack get to see their families and have a future, Jack does not.

“We visit Jack at his grave and wonder how his life would have been if he was still here.

“As a family, we couldn’t even see Jack for six weeks after his death as he had to go through so many different examinations after the attack. We laid him to rest eight weeks after he died - eight terrible, painful weeks.

“The trial process has been extremely difficult to endure. The grief has been amplified through this long trial process. Having to relive what happened to Jack on that night has been horrific to us all.

“Jack my boy, I will love and forever miss you. All our hearts are forever broken.”

Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Brooks, of Northumbria Police oversaw the case.

She said: “This is a truly tragic case in which a young man has lost his life and our thoughts very much remain with Jack’s family and loved ones.

An ambulance found Jack on Newbottle Street (Image: Google Streetview)

“Jack had his whole life ahead of him. On the morning he was attacked, he had just picked up the keys for a new flat in Sunderland and he was days away from starting a new job.

“He had this all taken away from him by the actions of those who have been convicted of being responsible for his death.

“Dozens of lives have been destroyed by what happened that night.

“I want to send an unequivocal message to anyone who chooses to carry a weapon of any kind or believes that violence is acceptable – the consequences can be devastating.

“Look at the pain this incident has caused – not only could you take away someone else’s future and destroy the lives of their loved ones, but also your own and those of your family and friends.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the community for their cooperation and support since this tragedy. Numerous young people not only witnessed this tragic event but were brave enough to come forward and give evidence in court, for this they should be commended."

Andrea Milsom, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North East, said: “The attack on Jack last year was as cowardly as it was senseless. Significantly outnumbered, Jack was chased down by a group of teenagers, some armed with weapons, before being viciously and fatally assaulted in front of his friends and other members of the public

“While much of this was captured on CCTV and mobile phones the verbal evidence provided by witnesses, many of whom are young people themselves, has played a critical role in this prosecution.

“We stand alongside our police colleagues in praising the bravery of those who assisted this investigation. It is thanks to their courage, and also to the excellent investigation by Northumbria Police, that the Crown Prosecution Service has been able to meticulously piece together the chaotic sequence of events and to show clearly each defendant’s part in it.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of Jack Woodley, who have spoken today of the grief and trauma they continue to endure. We sincerely hope that today’s convictions provide some measure of comfort to them at what remains an incredibly difficult time.”