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The Teenage Snapchat Killers

by Danielle E Tinning 10 months ago in guilty

While the senseless murder of Wrightson is undeniably tragic, so was the lives of the two girls who carried out the crime

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

In this unsettling and relentlessly violent case, the identities of the young girls who committed the murder of 39-year-old Angela Wrightson still remains concealed (as of writing). Because of this, I’ll refer to them as ‘Girl A’ (the elder of the two at 14 at the time of the killing), and ‘Girl B’ (the younger of the two at just 13.)

While the senseless murder of Wrightson is undeniably tragic, so was the lives of the two girls who carried out the crime. On the surface, when you look at the cold facts, you’d be forgiven for thinking the girls were pure evil; cruel, heartless, and without a place in society. As you delve a little deeper into the lives of everyone involved in this crime, you begin to wonder if (had a little more attention and care been given) this murder would have ever been carried out. In saying this, the violent rages and disturbing behaviour of the girls was well known to the authorities, as well as their foster families, care homes, and their parents.

It would be this sheer rage that would lead the young pair to torture, humiliate, beat, and eventually murder Angela Wrightson. The drawn-out killing lasted 7 hours, and some of this was filmed by the young duo, who then sent it to friends on Snapchat. Wrightson considered herself to be one of the pair’s friends, despite being almost three decades older than them. She was a vulnerable alcoholic who would go to the shop to buy the underage drinkers their alcohol, and also offer her home as a place to carry out drinking sessions for her young companions. In December 2014, she was found naked from the waist down with more than 70 separate slash injuries and 54 blunt-force injuries to her 6-and-a-half stone frame.

The Young Murderers

On December 8th 2014 in Hartlepool, North East of England, two young girls were roaming the streets, bottles of strong cider in hand, puffing on cigarettes. The youngsters were aimlessly wandering in the cold winter evening, taking selfies, wondering what they could get up to that night.

Girl A, born in 2000, grew up surrounded by domestic violence, drugs and drink. Her parents were unemployed, and her mother had more children with different fathers, all of whom had served time in jail. Girl A’s dad would beat her mother, repeatedly and viscously, much like the murderous attack she would go on to carry out years later. By age 11, the youngster would have been introduced to strong, cheap cider, Tramadol (a strong painkiller from the opioid family), and was frequently left to her own devices to roam the streets at all hours. Her mother, unable to cope with the violent, disruptive, and disturbed child she’d help create, put her into care. The care system only made Girl A’s violent outbursts worse, and she would smash up her room and take off from the home, only to be brought back by police. A social worker assigned to the young girl said she was the ‘most volatile young person’ she’d be tasked with.

Her view on violence was skewed, to say the least. Her experience with such abuse led the girl to believe you couldn’t die from being beaten. After being detained by police after the killing, she said, ‘I thought you could only die if you got cancer or shot in the head or stabbed in the heart’. While she was only 14, most teenagers at this age understand the fragility of life and understand death in a more complex and holistic way, but Girl A struggled to understand the gravity of the situation.

On the day she and Girl B killed Wrightson, the teenager went to visit her mother, who was on her way out. She begged her mother to spend some time with her, and sick of her pleading, her mother eventually spat to her daughter, “Fuck off. Why don’t you go and kill yourself?” This caused the girl to fly into a rage, going on a drugs and drink binge. She took the strong painkillers she acquired from her mother and washed it down with cider.

When I was looking into Girl A’s family life, I found one instance with her father to be quite telling. When a U.K. newspaper tried to interview the girl’s mother, he answered the door to say, ‘I’ve got one word for you — fuck off’. Despite his child-killing an innocent woman, he felt this to be a valid response to the press interest.

After being rejected by her mother the day of the murder, Girl A met up with her younger friend, Girl B.

Girl B grew up in a similar situation as her friend, but with perhaps a little more stability — just. Her parents were together, and her father worked full-time as a labourer. However, neighbours have told how they’d hear arguing and screaming from the house frequently, usually from Girl B and her heavy-drinking mother. The neighbours also told of how the young girl would run away from home, only for her parents to simply call the police to find her. They’d often bring the runaway home, only for the process to be repeated. One of the neighbours commented, ‘What a great use of police resources that was’. From the interviews and quotes taken from the people who lived nearby girl B’s family, it’s apparent that they blame her parents for her violent and aggressive behaviour, with one saying, “It’s no surprise she turned out violent when she had a mother screaming at her for years on end”.

Girl B’s prized possession was her phone, and she would spend hours glued to it messaging friends, taking selfies, and chatting on Snapchat. So much so that she documented some of the violent acts carried out the night she and Girl A murdered Angela Wrightson. In one haunting image from early on in the 7-hour attack, you see the two girls smiling for a selfie, with a bruised, helpless Wrightson in the background looking dazed.

While the girls had known each other for a number of years, they only became close in the months leading up to the murder. When they met up the evening of December 8th 2014, both were seeking something to do. Girl A was still reeling from being harshly rejected by her mother, and Girl B had been trying to arrange a drinking session with pals, but it fell through. In the end, they turned up at Wrightson’s property which promised alcohol and a place to drink it.

The Brutal Killing

There was no tension or argument that led to the sustained abuse that would transpire that evening, but the attack was still full of venom and rage. Wrightson was kicked, punched, had a T.V. dropped onto her head, was beaten with wood with nails protruding from it, had a printer flung at her and was filmed as she was tormented and humiliated by the teenagers. She was slashed with broken glass from a mirror that was smashed over her head. Her home was trashed beyond recognition, with furniture thrown around and items being used as weapons. The walls were strewn with blood spatters and smudges.

Between beating the woman, the girls would take breaks to dance, smoke, and drink. In some of the disturbing videos of the girls, Wrightson is in the background looking distressed. At one point, mid-beating, the teens left the property only to return later to resume their abuse. Ash from burnt paper was found in Wrightson’s ear, and shards of glass and gravel were thrown around her lower body. After they were done battering the woman, the teens called the police — not to turn themselves in, but to catch a lift home. The police, who were well aware of the youngsters, took them home, and in the back of the van, Girl B continued her documentation of the evening via Snapchat. ‘In the back on the bizzie van again,’ she wrote alongside a picture of her friend in the police van.

Meanwhile, Wrightson was left to bleed out on her sofa, where she had been placed by the pair before leaving. The woman was later found by her landlord, cold and lifeless, with horrific injuries all over her body.

It wasn’t hard to work out who had carried out this brutal attack; after all, it was documented on Snapchat for all to see.

The Aftermath of a Senseless Murder

Once apprehended by police, the dynamic of the duo began to unravel; despite being the older of the two, Girl A appeared to be a follower of a more intelligent and dominant Girl B. Girl B blamed her friend for the attack and claimed not to recall the events of that evening, as she had fallen asleep. Still, she remembered with great clarity that it was all Girl A’s fault.

In stark contrast, Girl A had a low I.Q. of around 70, didn’t know you could die from sustained abuse and was unable to answer her own date of birth when asked. In court, she advised she didn’t know what the phrase ‘date of birth’ meant, and when it was rephrased to, ‘when is your birthday,’ she couldn’t answer this. She didn’t understand why she was arrested for murder, nor could she comprehend why she was told off while in care for lighting her cigarettes from the communal toaster. It appeared the elder girl looked up to her younger peer, doing as she was told seemingly without question. The younger girl repeatedly told the older girl to “kick her head in” and complained, “Why isn’t she [Wrightson] knocked out yet?” The younger girl sat and smoked and at one point spoke to a friend on the phone while orchestrating the abuse. Her friend heard her command: “Go on… kill her. Bray her.” Girl A obliged.

Throughout the trial, Girl B pushed the blame to her friend and insisted she knew little of what went on that night. Girl B was described as ‘bright’ by one of her support workers, and was only in care as a respite for her parents, and stayed in touch with them regularly. Her parents were there every day for her trial, whereas Girl A’s parents didn’t show up at all. Known to self-harm, Girl A tried to kill herself in the court toilets in between giving her evidence. Prior to this, she would slash her legs, arms, and even her face.

While giving evidence, it was reported how matter-of-fact Girl A was, and one reporter likened it to someone ‘reading out a shopping list’. When questioned, Girl A stated, “I kicked Angie in the head and face. About seven times, I think.” She continued, “Then [Girl B] told me to kick her again, so I kicked her some more in the belly and head and face”.

Since the murder, the older girl has hallucinated, has woken up screaming and sweating, saying she sees blood on the walls. She hears phantom laughter of young girls and has said she thinks men are shouting at her through air vents in the ceiling, and communicating through the showerhead.

Despite Girl B throwing a heavy amount of blame towards her friend, Girl A remained as loyal as ever; as can be seen in the letters she penned her while they were held in separate secure units. In one intercepted letter she wrote:

‘Have missed you so much you know. I can’t believe this has happened. I’m proper trashed. Whatever happens and however long we get, just keep your chin up bonny lass. I’m thinking of you every step of the way. Do our time, get out and start a new life. Wait until we get out, me and you on the sesh again but this time it will be bigger and better, I’m telling you.’

Both of the girls denied murder and didn’t show any remorse during the Leeds Crown Court trial. The older of the pair admitted manslaughter while the other insisted she did not encourage or take part in the violence. However, the Judge found that they acted in tandem. When the girls left the house for a ‘break’ at 11 pm, they visited a friend. He asked about their bloodied clothing, to which they lied that they’d both fallen over. They then returned to Wrightson’s home at 2 am, abused her some more before calling the police at 4 am to take them back to their individual care homes. The officers who picked them up said they were in ‘high spirits’.

They were sentenced to 15 years minimum for the murder, and the Judge advised that had they been tried as adults, they would have gotten a lot longer. When one of the girls turned 18 in 2019, it was expected that she’d be named, however, an extension to their anonymity was granted. This may carry on indefinitely due to the public backlash the pair could face, as a barrage of threats and comments have appeared on Facebook targeting the duo for their crime.

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Danielle E Tinning

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