Angela Wrightson: Teen murderers at risk if named

Angela Wrightson: Teen murderers at risk if named

Two teenagers who tortured and murdered a vulnerable woman in her own home would be at “risk of harm” if their identities are not kept secret for life, the High Court has heard.

The pair were 13 and 14 when they subjected 39-year-old Angela Wrightson to an attack in Hartlepool lasting several hours.

They were jailed for a minimum of 15 years in April 2016 following a trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Both have now turned 18.

They were not named during the trial because of their age and an interim injunction extending their anonymity is in place.

At a hearing in London, their barrister Edward Fitzgerald QC told Mrs Justice Tipples both teenagers suffer from “recognisable mental conditions”, adding they are “extremely psychologically vulnerable”.

There are also concerns that “lifting anonymity would create a very significant risk of harm from third parties”, he said.

“The claimants live in fear that, if their names are disclosed, they will be attacked. And that affects their mental health and threatens their rehabilitation, and indeed promotes the risk of self-harm or even suicide.”

As well as risking their psychological health, lifting a ban on naming them would “create harm to and anxiety about their families”, the barrister argued.

He added: “It will also seriously prejudice both their therapeutic treatment and their rehabilitation in which both have only just begun to make progress.”

A first trial at Teesside Crown Court was halted by Mr Justice Globe after he was alerted to hundreds of social media posts about the pair which could potentially have been seen by jurors.

Miss Wrightson was hit with a shovel, a TV, a coffee table and a stick studded with screws after she let the pair into her Stephen Street home in December 2014.

A selfie posted on Snapchat showed the defendants smiling with Miss Wrightson pictured in the background shortly before her death.

The hearing continues.

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