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The defendants, made up of 14- to 17-year-olds, ‘surrounded and isolated’ Jack Woodley ‘like zombies attacking an animal’ after they followed him from an amusement park and chased him through an alleyway next to a pub in Houghton. le Spring, Sunderland.
Newcastle Crown Court heard on Tuesday that he was beaten and kicked, stepped on and fatally stabbed in the back with a 25cm blade during the horrific attack on October 16 last year.
Witnesses told the jury that Jack was visibly “so scared” when he curled into a ball and received a torrent of kicks to the face and body from the attackers, who acted like a “pack of lions.”
The disgusting attack, which was recorded on a mobile phone, saw the attackers form a circle around the defenseless Jack, making it virtually impossible for his friends to come to his aid.
A witness told the court that she managed to get three assailants off of Jack before several girls attacked her as she tried to rescue him, breaking her nose.
He told the jury that the attack happened outside the Britannia Inn as the teens were walking away from the event.
The 10 defendants, who cannot be legally named because of their age, are charged with murder, with an alternative charge of involuntary manslaughter.
McKone said one of the teens had already pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, admitting that he stabbed Woodley but denying that he intended to kill him.
The other nine defendants, who were between the ages of 14 and 17 at the time of the attack, deny both charges.
Mr McKone told the court that one of the defendants attacked Mr Woodley first and the others “joined in”.
He said one of them was heard yelling ‘get the chopper’, referring to the knife, on mobile phone footage of the incident.
The court heard that one of the defendants was ‘armed with a very dangerous knife’, while another admitted pulling out a feather duster that night, but denied hitting Mr Woodley with it.
Mr McKone said: “The prosecution says, based on the available evidence, that the defendants were out looking for serious trouble that day.”
He said the defendants “surrounded and isolated Jack,” covering their heads as they prepared to attack him.
He told the jury that Mr. Woodley was outnumbered as the group “not only attacked him, but prevented him from escaping and other people from helping him.”
The court heard that Mr. Woodley died the following day, after “valiant attempts on scene and in hospital” to save his life.
Jurors were told that a witness had gone to the first defendant’s home earlier that day, where she had shown him “a machete-style knife” and told him that she had stabbed two people with it.
McKone said the witness met with him again an hour later, and with four of his male friends, who discussed him “being in a gang” and “discussed how they were going to find someone at the party tonight.” .
She told police the group “seemed pretty excited.”
Mr McKone told the court: “This supports the prosecution’s case that this attack was planned and the stabbing was planned, even though they did not have a particular victim in mind at this stage.”
The jury was told that another witness had kissed another of the defendants at the festival and that she was beaten by a friend of her ex-girlfriend.
McKone said that when Woodley, who did not know any of the defendants, asked one of them if he knew why the girl had been beaten, the defendant asked Woodley “if she was just starting out.”
Mr McKone said: ‘This appears to be one of the trivial reasons for the group attack.
‘The group had been looking for any reason or excuse to attack someone.’