Jack Woodley: Murder-accused lied 'to avoid upsetting his mum' – BBC


A teenager lied to police about a man's stab death because he wanted to avoid upsetting his mother, a court heard.
Jack Woodley, 18, died from a puncture wound after being attacked by youths in Houghton-le-Spring in October.
The defendant, who was 17 at the time but is now 18, said he was the fourth person to hit Mr Woodley. He denies charges of murder and manslaughter.
He told Newcastle Crown Court: "It looked as if it was group on group because Jack's friends were there."
He said he "accepted" that he threw two punches but was not sure if they connected.
Mr Woodley was set upon in the town centre after leaving the Houghton Feast funfair on 16 October and died in hospital 26 hours later.
One defendant, 15, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denies murder. Nine others on trial, aged 14 to 18, deny both charges.
None can be identified for legal reasons.
Mark McKone QC, counsel for the prosecution, asked the teenager why he did not mention punching Mr Woodley when he gave his first prepared statement to the police.
When asked: "Is it because you wanted to cover up what you had done?", the defendant replied: "No, it wasn't."
He told the court although he saw a fellow defendant – the 15-year-old – with a knife, he did not mention it in his initial police interviews.
Mr McKone asked him: "Is that a lie you thought you could you could get away with?"
The defendant said it was because he did not think "there was any CCTV".
He also initially said he had been attacked at the funfair and told his mother he "got jumped", the jury heard.
He had not given police the full picture of what happened because he wanted to avoid upsetting his mother who was present with him as his appropriate adult, he said.
Another of the co-accused told the court he was not involved in the attack and said there must have been a case of mistaken identity.
The boy, who was 14 at the time, said he had "a bit of a laugh on" at the feast with Mr Woodley because two girls were fighting.
Later he said he saw Mr Woodley surrounded by a group of people with his "back up against a wall".
He told the jury: "I said to the group 'what's the matter? He's done nothing wrong, leave him alone'."
That incident broke up and he said he shook Mr Woodley's hand and "everybody started walking away".
The teenager admitted bringing a knuckle duster to the Houghton Feast that night because he said usually on the last night there was "a lot more trouble – fights and stuff like that".
He said his father had a knuckle duster and he "looked up to him" so wanted to have one as well.
When asked by his barrister Kama Melly QC why several people reported seeing him being involved in the attack, the boy, who is now 15, said they must have made a mistake.
He said: "We were all around the same build and height, all dressed in same kind of clothing.
"They must be mistaken about who I am because whatever they're saying about me is just not true."
Ms Melly asked him how he felt about Mr Woodley's death, to which the boy replied: "I feel sad and devastated about what's happened.
"I don't think anybody deserves to lose their life."
He also said he felt sorry for Mr Woodley's family, adding: "They must be feeling sad, angry, you can understand why they are feeling like that because I would feel the same."
Mr McKone asked the boy if he took any of the blame for Mr Woodley's death, to which the boy replied: "No I don't because I didn't do [anything] to lead to his death."
The trial continues.
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