Ten teenagers who murdered an 18-year-old ‘for excitement and pleasure’ after attacking him at random as he walked home from a funfair in County Durham were today sentenced to life.
Jack Woodley pleaded with his killers ‘I just want to go home’ moments before the gang of 15 to 17-year-olds punched, kicked and stabbed the teenager with a 25cm ‘Rambo style knife’.
Jack’s mum Zoe McGill said: ‘We always used to call him our cheeky chappy, blue-eyed boy.
‘He used to light up any room he was in. He hated to be serious, he always wanted to make a joke. He was happy go-lucky and very adventurous.’
The teen was ‘surrounded and isolated’ by the gang of youths who chased him down an alleyway and attacked him ‘like zombies attacking an animal’.
The victim, who had been due to start a job the Monday after he was attacked, was on the way to pick up keys for a new flat when he was punched, kicked, stamped on, and stabbed with a 25cm ‘Rambo style’ knife during the attack on October 16.
Prosecutors said the group had gone out ‘looking for serious trouble that day’ and tried to ‘create conflict’ with Mr Woodley at the festival as they ‘looked for any excuse to attack someone’.
One of the teenagers first put Mr Woodley in a headlock and punched him, before the others ‘joined in’, the court heard.
Jurors were told one of them was heard shouting ‘get the chopper’ – referring to the knife – in mobile phone footage of the incident.
Today, the 15-year-old who inflicted the fatal wound by stabbing Mr Woodley in the back was detained for a minimum of 17 years.
Read more: Possession of the soulless zombies – Murdered as he told his killers ‘I just want to go home’: Teen, 18, was stabbed to death by 10 boys who ‘swarmed like zombies’ after ‘selecting a stranger’ to hurt