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Snapkill Girls take selfies after battering woman to death

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Teenage girls took selfies and posted them on Snapchat while they battered a woman to death with a television set, computer printer and a kettle, a court heard today.

Angela Wrightson, 39, died after being subjected to a 'sustained and brutal' assault, Daily Mail reports. Her half-naked body was found at her home in Hartlepool, in December, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Two teenage girls, who were aged 13 and 14 at the time of the killing, are accused of carrying out the attack, while the younger girl is said to have published a selfie taken at Ms Wrightson's home after the violence began on social media app Snapchat.

Ms Wrightson and the other girl, her best friend, could be seen in the picture and the older woman already had marks on her face, the court heard.

Both girls were grinning, but Ms Wrightson was not. 

The court was told she then took a photograph of the pair in the back of a police van, captioning it 'In the back of the bizzie van again'. 

A police officer in the van had heard the words 'Snapchat' and 'turn the flash on' and realised they were taking photographs so he told them to stop, Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting told the jury.

The jury had heard how Ms Wrightson, an alcoholic who would buy cigarettes and drink for underage youths, was found dead by her landlord.

"The body was sitting on a sofa in her front room, she was naked from the waist down," Mr Campbell said.

The landlord dialled 999, and emergency services were called to the property. Forensic experts found shards of glass and gravel around the victim's 'private parts', and ash in her right ear.

"It became clear that Angela Wrightson had been the victim of a sustained and brutal assault," Mr Campbell said. "There were well over 100 injuries. The evidence at the scene of the crime showed she had been struck in 12 separate locations within that room."

He went on to describe the horrific act:

"A number of implements were used as weapons. They included a wooden stick with screws standing proud of the surface, a TV set, a printer from a home computer, a coffee table and a shovel.

Smaller items such as a kettle and a metal pan were used together with a glass vase and other ornaments."

Later, the younger girl rang a friend using Facebook, jurors heard, and that witness went on to tell police that during the call she heard the defendant shout: "Go on (names older defendant), smash her head in, bray her, f****** kill her."

The witness told police she thought she then heard laughing in the background.

The friend thought the defendant sounded drunk.

Now aged 14 and 15, the defendants had formed an 'intense' relationship, the court heard.

"The prosecution case is that they were in it together and that they are jointly responsible for this fatal act," Mr Campbell said. 

Both defendants deny murder, with the older girl saying she did not intend serious harm, and her co-accused claiming she did not encourage or take part in the violence.

The younger girl took selfies at the crime scene after the violence had started and published one on social media, the court heard.

One taken at 9pm showed her co-accused in the background, and further back, Ms Wrightson. Both girls were smiling, but the woman was not, Mr Campbell said.

And there were already marks on her face.

Further selfies that the younger girl took showed the girls drinking cider from a bottle.

The girls had let themselves in through Miss Wrightson's unlocked front door at around 7.30pm and left after 11pm, jurors heard. They came back at around 2am the next morning before leaving a final time at 4am.

Ms Wrightson may already have been dead by 11pm, the court was told.

Between 11pm and 2am they chatted with a local teenager who asked why they had blood on their clothes, jurors heard.

They told him they had both fallen over.

He heard the older girl say: "We have to get back to the house, check if she is dead."

The younger girl was staying with foster parents while the older one was in a local authority home, the jury was told.

Teesside Crown Court was told the girls were a 'bad influence' on one another

Around six weeks before the murder the younger girl sent the older defendant a message referring to her 'little partner in crime', the court was told.

After the murder, Mr Campbell said both girls knew that police were looking for them as they had spent the night out. Having failed to get a taxi to collect them from the murder scene, they rang the police to take them home at gone 4am, the jury was told.

He told the jury that on the way back the younger defendant took a photo on her phone of the other girl in the police van and shared it on Snapchat. The picture was captioned, "Me and [names older girl] in the back of the bizzie van again," the jury heard.

The younger girl confided in a friend the next day how a terrified Ms Wrightson begged for them to stop, the court heard.

"She said it had all started when Angela Wrightson had threatened her with a knife and when (she) retaliated, (the other girl) joined in as well," Mr Campbell said, as he told the jury what the witness said the defendant had told her. "Thereafter (the older girl) had done most of the stuff, they had smashed up the house and they had smashed the bits over Angela Wrightson."

The girl told her friend that the TV was smashed over their victim and they had 'stamped all over her head'.

Mr Campbell said the defendant told her friend "Angela Wrightson had been saying 'please don't, stop, I'm scared'" but they carried on.

Mr Campbell said the friend will say the younger defendant wanted Ms Wrightson dead and "had a hate for Angie, but she didn't know why".

After news of the murder spread the next day, the older girl told a support worker it was 'shocking'.

During a shopping trip, she asked the adult: "How do you think it feels to kill someone? Do you think you feel empty? Do you think you would feel bad?" 

The trial was adjourned Thursday.

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