Angela Marjorie Wrightson, 39, lived on Stephen Street in Hartlepool, England. She had been struggling with alcoholism since the age of 11, and as a child, her guardianship was largely under the responsibility of social services.
The woman appeared much older, was thin, and had served several prison sentences. Despite her troubled history and psychiatric problems, Angela was well-liked in the city. She used to give chocolates to children, always helped neighbors and stray animals, and took impeccable care of her home.
Angela had a few teenage “friends” in the city. They would visit her house in exchange for buying them alcohol and cigarettes.
Acquaintances of Angela said that she was quite lonely, especially after the loss of her last boyfriend, and perhaps that’s why she tolerated the abuse from the younger individuals. Angela believed that if she didn’t comply with the teenagers’ demands, they would stop visiting her.
She called drunk
On December 11, 2014, in the afternoon, the landlord of the property where Angela lived went there. For an unknown reason, the two had an argument, and Angela threw small objects from the house at the man, who left after a few minutes, taking the bunch of keys.
That same night, Angela was visited by two teenage girls, aged 13 and 14. They asked the woman to buy drinks and cigarettes while they waited in the apartment. She returned to the apartment around 7:30 p.m.
As soon as Angela returned home, the two girls began attacking her using various objects such as a shovel, a wooden board with screws on the ends, a printer, a coffee table, and even a television.
Around 9 p.m., one of the girls posted a photo on Snapchat showing Angela visibly injured. Additionally, a short video was also posted, in which they mocked the situation.
Around 11 p.m., two friends of Angela visited the property expecting to drink with her. After shouting and banging on her window, they found the front door unlocked.
Upon entering, they noticed that the living room was completely ransacked, with broken objects and shards of glass on the floor. The friends decided to leave as they looked for the homeowner, and she seemed to be gone.
What they didn’t realize was that the girls were hiding in the house with Angela, who was likely unconscious. Some time later, the girls left to visit another friend and returned around 2 a.m. on December 9th to continue the attack.
After the assaults, the girls left the woman semi-conscious, unconscious, or possibly already dead on the couch. They left the scene at 4 a.m., and one of the girls sent a message to her caregiver to come pick her up.
With no response and fearing they would be reported missing, the girls called the police twice, asking for a ride from the authorities. On their way home, the girls posed for another photo on Snapchat with the caption “in the back of the police car again.”
Around 8:45 a.m. the next day, the owner of Angela’s property returned to the house to return the keys. As soon as he entered, he found her body on the couch; she had suffered 103 injuries, 80 of which were to the head.
What is known about the girls
Both girls had experienced physical abuse from their biological parents and were away from their families. The older one was in an orphanage, and the younger one was under the care of an adoptive family.
The older girl had been a drug user since the age of 11. The younger one was raised in an environment where adults abused alcohol and drugs, witnessed her mother being stabbed during a domestic dispute, and tried drugs for the first time under her influence.
Due to their social media posts, it wasn’t difficult for the police to suspect the girls’ involvement. On December 9th, the older girl spoke to authorities, expressing an interest in Angela’s death while questioning how sentences for murder worked.
The younger girl was reported as “quiet and trembling”; she also seemed interested in the case and sent a text message to a friend saying, “I might be a suspect.” Both girls were arrested on the same day.
Trial and sentencing
The identities of the two teenagers are protected under the Children and Young Persons Act of 1933, as they were minors at the time of the crime.
The first trial began in July 2015 but was quickly halted when information about the defendants was leaked and shared on social media.
In the same month, the second trial began, where both girls denied murder, but the older one admitted to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
On April 6th, both girls were found guilty of murder, and the next day, they were sentenced to minimum terms of 15 years in prison.
The Supreme Court decided on February 4, 2021, that both perpetrators should have lifelong anonymity to protect their ongoing rehabilitation and also due to the risk of self-harm from one of them if their identities were revealed.
In 2019, a film based on this case was released. “Like” explores the complicated toxic relationship between two best friends and how online activity can determine social status and acceptance. The film was entirely shot by the actors using cell phones and GoPro cameras.
You can also watch “Ma,” available on Netflix, which tells a similar story. The difference lies in the host, who buys alcoholic beverages for the young people with malicious intentions as a way to seek revenge for the bullying she experienced in her adolescence.