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Summary

  1. Updates on Tuesday 5 April 2016.

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Our live updates have finished for the day. 

It has been a day which saw two young girls convicted of the brutal murder of a vulnerable woman in her Hartlepool home.

The girls, then aged 13 and 14, used a variety of weapons including a coffee table and a computer printer to attack Angela Wrightson.

You can read a profile of her tragic life here.

The girls, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be sentenced on Thursday.

We will be back with more updates from across the North East tomorrow. 

Take care.

Murdered Angela Wrightson 'preferred prison'

Angela Wrightson preferred prison to being "on the out", according to Donna Jenkins, who met her in jail.

"Angie was a lost soul who found life easier inside. She'd become largely institutionalised," she said.

Her position as laundrywoman was "the first time she had felt valued", Ms Jenkins added.

Stephen Street
BBC

Upon her last release from prison in 2011, Ms Wrightson, originally from Darlington, moved to Hartlepool for a fresh start.

Ms Jenkins says "it was the happiest time of Angie's life". She had a boyfriend, and became friendly with some local dog owners.

Then her boyfriend died from alcohol related problems, leaving her "heartbroken". From that point, her condition worsened and people began using her home, the trial heard, as a "doss house".

It was to end with her tragic death at the hands of two young girls.

How the papers are reporting the murder verdict

Here's how the local papers are reporting the conviction of two schoolgirls for violently murdering Angela Wrightson in Hartlepool:

Schoolgirls used 'police taxi' to take them home after murder

This is the "police taxi" two convicted schoolgirl murderers used to take them home after brutally attacking Angela Wrightson.

Police van
Cleveland Police

They got officers to give them a lift at 04:00 on the night of the murder as they complained they were "freezing".

Ms Wrightson, 39, was later found in her living room with more than 100 injuries - including 80 to her face - in Hartlepool in December 2014.  

'Dickensian' characters who surrounded Angela Wrightson

Details of a Dickensian cast of characters emerged in the trial of two girls who have been convicted of murdering Angela Wrightson.

Tens of people, including "Mad Molly", "Goofy" and "Cider Bill" would go to Ms Wrightson's home in Stephen Street at all hours of the day and night. They would not bother knocking.

Groups of youths started dropping by first thing in the morning so she could buy them cigarettes. Underage drinkers congregated in her living room and on the proviso she could share their drink, she would buy them alcohol from the local shop - where three-litre bottles of 7.5% cider can be bought for about £3.

Sometimes she called a neighbour "to make the kids scatter" when they ignored her pleas to leave.

Stephen Street
BBC

Video: How Angela Wrightson was murdered

Two 15-year-old girls have been found guilty of murdering a woman in her own home.

The attack was described in court as "sustained and brutal".

Angela Wrightson was found with more than 100 injuries in the living room of her house, in Hartlepool, in December 2014.

Fiona Trott reports:

Two 15-year-old girls guilty of murder

CCTV shows girls going back to murder house

This CCTV image shows two schoolgirl murderers walking back to Angela Wrightson's house after attacking her in December 2014.

They had left the house in Hartlepool for "time out" at about 23:00, during which time they went to see a friend, who asked them why they were covered in blood. 

They told him they had both fallen over and began listening to rap music. 

The pair, who were convicted today, are seen below at 02:00 going back to the Stephen Street property. They stayed for a further two hours before calling the police to take them home.

CCTV image
Cleveland Police

Angela Wrightson's difficult life in focus

Bethan Bell

BBC News Online

Angela Wrightson had a difficult background.

She and her eight siblings were all brought up separately in care, and she remained estranged from her family.

Only after she died did her mother and aunt reappear into her world, occasionally attending the trial.

A post-mortem examination found evidence of early self-harming and cirrhosis of the liver.

She was covered in home-made tattoos, including a cross on her face.

Last image released of Angela Wrightson

One of the last images of Angela Wrightson before she was murdered has been released by police. 

The trial heard the two girls who killed her had visited Ms Wrightson, an alcoholic known as "Alco Ange", on a number of occasions because she would buy them alcohol and cigarettes.  

This is Angela at a shop on the day she died:

Angela Wrightson
Cleveland Police

Teenage murderers 'laughed and smiled' after fatal attack

Two girls carried out a "brutal and sustained" attack on Angela Wrightson and then laughed about it afterwards, prosecutors say.

Gerry Wareham, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "In our society it is hard to imagine that two girls of such a young age could be capable of such violence.

"The attack that the girls committed against Angela Wrightson was brutal and sustained. One can only imagine the fear and distress that she must have felt in the final hours of her life.

"Given the severity of their assault on Miss Wrightson, one would expect the girls to have shown a degree of remorse in the wake of her death.

"Instead, they laughed and smiled while posing for a "selfie", with each continuing to deny that they had murdered her throughout the investigation and prosecution of this case."

The pair, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be sentenced on Thursday.

Angela Wrightson's family thank 'those who spoke for her'

Angela Wrightson's family have thanked the police and the prosecution team for their "compassion and support", and for those who gave evidence on her behalf in court.

The statement, issued after the verdict, added: "If any positive can be taken from this experience it is the kindness displayed by those who knew Angie best.  

"Angie's infectious personality touched the hearts of so many people and it is those fond memories which we continue to cherish as we attempt to move forward."

Schoolgirl murderers tried to blame each other

The two girls convicted of murdering Angela Wrightson in Hartlepool tried to shift blame on to each other during their trial.

The older girl accepted she struck the victim but said she did not intend her serious harm and accused her accomplice, telling the jury her younger friend told her to carry out the attack.

But the younger of the two said she played no part in the assault and did not encourage her friend in any way.

She told police her friend became angry and launched the attack after Miss Wrightson made a comment about her family.

This TV was used to smash Ms Wrightson over her head during the attack.

TV used in attack
Cleveland Police

Police still questioning motive for murder

Questions still remain about the motive behind Angela Wrightson's killing, police say.

Det Ch Supt Peter McPhillips said: "This was a highly unusual and shocking incident. Throughout almost 25 years of service I have never come across such a brutal murder committed by such young girls.

"Angela was subjected to a prolonged, sustained attack and the pathologist identified a significant number of injuries to her body caused by at least 25 blows with weapons."

The weapons included this shovel:

Shovel
Cleveland Police

Angela Wrightson death 'took away' chance to restore family closeness

Following the guilty verdict, the Wrightson family said in a statement: "It's true that Angela (or Angie as she was known to us all) led a troubled and at times chaotic lifestyle. 

"And as a family we were not as close as we ought to have been. The chance to put that right has been taken away from us."

It went on to say: "The two girls responsible will one day be women themselves, free to live their lives and perhaps have children of their own. A right which was taken from Angie."

Angela Wrightson's chaotic life and brutal death

Bethan Bell

BBC News Online

In many ways Angela Wrightson fitted the stereotype of a typical victim - an alcohol-dependent female attacked in her own home by people she knew.

It's a profile which often triggers criticism of agencies - she was a vulnerable woman left to struggle alone, forgotten by authorities and dismissed as an aggressive drunk who had never worked.

But this was not the case. She was in regular contact with agencies in Hartlepool, and offered frequent help and support.

Angela Wrightson
BBC

Read my profile here of her chaotic life and brutal death.

Hartlepool Council: 'We need to understand murderers' motivations'

Hartlepool Council, whose social services department was involved with Angela Wrightson and her two teenage murderers, said reviews are under way.

Council chief executive Gill Alexander said: "The two children were receiving services from the council and other agencies, but until the ongoing serious case reviews are concluded, it would not be appropriate to comment on the circumstances of the children at this time. 

"Incidents like this are extremely rare, but we need to do everything possible to try to better understand what motivated the two children to behave as they did. 

"Given the exceptional circumstances of this case, the Serious Case Reviews and the Safeguarding Adult Review will be seeking the help of national experts and national research in this field, to ensure that everyone can learn from this case to help prevent similar tragedies in the future."

She also offered her "deepest sympathy" to Ms Wrightson's family and said her death has "touched the hearts of many people in Hartlepool".

Trial a 'harrowing experience' for Wrightson family

Angela Wrightson's family has described the murder trail as a "harrowing experience".

A number of weapons had been used in the attack, including a piece of wood with screws attached.

Piece of wood used to attack Angela Wrightson
Durham Police

The family said in a statement: "Angie was attacked and brutally murdered in her own home, a place where we all have the right to feel safe. 

"Listening to the details of her injuries and of her final moments has been a harrowing experience and something which will continue to haunt us each and every day. 

"No sentence, regardless of its severity, will ever bring Angie back."    

Schoolgirl murderers 'have never shown any remorse'

The scene where Angela Wrightson was murdered was horrific and shocked police officers who found her body.

Ms Wrightson was found dead in her living room in Hartlepool with more than a hundred wounds. 

The court had heard the girls used a variety of weapons, including a coffee table and a computer printer, to carry out the "sustained and brutal" attack for more than three hours. 

Det Ch Supt Peter McPhillips from Cleveland Police said: "I've never come across a crime that's been as terrible as this. 

"I can't imagine that any of my officers have. And the girls just don't seem to understand that, they've never shown any remorse and hopefully, one day they will."

Schoolgirl killers had been drinking before brutal attack

The two teenagers found guilty of murdering Angela Wrightson had been drinking and the older girl had been taking prescription drugs before they went to her Hartlepool home in December, 2014.

The girls, now 15 but aged 13 and 14 at the time, had visited Ms Wrightson before as she would buy them alcohol and cigarettes.

On the night of her death they let themselves into her home and asked Ms Wrightson to go to the shop for them. 

Their accounts to the court of what happened next differed, but the jury heard that Miss Wrightson, who was 5ft 4in and weighed six-and-a-half stone, was assaulted in 12 separate locations around the living room in an attack that took place over five hours. 

Child murderer asked 'How do you think it feels to kill someone?'

The brutality of the teenage murderers of Angela Wrightson was highlighted in court.

Ms Wrightson, 39, was found by her landlord in her blood-spattered home in Hartlepool in December 2014.  

Two girls, aged 13 and 14 at the time of her death, have been convicted of murder today.

The older girl's care worker told Leeds Crown Court that, the morning after Ms Wrightson died, the girl asked her: "How do you think it feels to kill someone? Do you think you'd feel empty? Do you think you'd feel bad?".

She later asked: "How long do you get for murder?"

Angela Wrightson had three possible causes of death

There were three possible causes of Angela Wrightson's death, Leeds Crown Court was told during the trial of two teenage girls accused of her murder.

Home Office pathologist Dr Mark Egan said the possible causes were loss of blood, a head injury, or asphyxiation, but could not tell which of those was the case.

Angela Wrightson
Cleveland Police

He told the court that items including a metal pan, two broken glass vases and a wooden stick with protruding screws "were compatible" with Ms Wrightson's many injuries.

She suffered "a bare minimum" of 103 cuts and bruises, including 15 slash wounds to her head.

Wrightson murderers ignored pleas for mercy

Friends of the two teenage murderers of Angela Wrightson told Leeds Crown Court how the pair described the attack.

One witness said the younger girl, then aged 13, recounted how Ms Wrightson begged for mercy and said she was scared during the brutal attack.

Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, claimed the girl told her friend Ms Wrightson had said "please don't - stop, I'm scared". 

The witness also said the girl had a hatred of Ms Wrightson, although it was unknown why.

The witness asked her why she hadn't called police if she believed Ms Wrightson might be dead, and said she replied "because I wanted her dead anyway".  

Teenage murderers tortured Angela Wrightson

During the seven-week trial, jurors at Leeds Crown Court heard graphic details of the torture suffered by Angela Wrightson during her final hours.

The court was told shards of glass, together with small pieces of gravel or grit were strewn over and around Ms Wrightson's genitals, and ash from burnt paper had been put into her ear.

She was discovered half-naked in her Hartlepool home having suffered 103 injuries including 80 to her face. 

Ms Wrightson, who was a known alcoholic, was struck with items including a shovel, broken glass and a stick with protruding screws and had a TV dropped on her while she was being held down.

The murderers, aged 13 and 14 at the time, were both spattered with Ms Wrightson's blood which prosecutors said was consistent with a long and brutal attack.

Wrightson murder: Girl said 'Ange had it coming'

The younger girl found guilty of murdering Angela Wrightson said she did not regret killing her as "she had it coming".

Ms Wrightson, who was known to the pair and others as Alco Ange, suffered more than 100 injuries in the brutal attack in her Hartlepool home.

Hartlepool street
BBC

During the trial at Leeds Crown Court, a witness said she heard the girl, who was 13 at the time, say Ms Wrightson deserved to die.

According to the witness, the younger girl said she "did not regret" the death of the victim because "she had it coming".

Angela Wrightson murderers cried in dock

The schoolgirl killers of Angela Wrightson wept in the dock and were immediately removed from court after being found guilty at Leeds Crown Court or murdering the 39-year-old.

The seven-week trial heard that the girls, who were aged 13 and 14 at the time of the attack in December 2014, used a variety of weapons, including a coffee table and a computer printer, to carry out the "sustained and brutal" attack over a prolonged period. 

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for just over three hours before returning the guilty verdicts.  

The girls, both now aged 15, will be sentenced on Thursday. 

Angela Wrightson murderers returned to finish off attack

The two teenage murderers of Angela Wrightson took a break during the attack, the court heard during their trial.

The pair went to Miss Wrightson's house on the evening of 8 December 2014 to drink cider.

They left the house during the night and returned in the early hours of the following day to carry on the attack.

The court also heard the girls, aged 14 and 13, used the police as a 'taxi' to take them home after the fatal attack.

Selfie in the back of a police van
BBC

Wrightson murderers shared photo of her on Snapchat

The two teenage murderers of Angela Wrightson took a selfie of themselves with her during the brutal attack and shared it on messaging service Snapchat.

The pair also took a picture of themselves smiling in the back of a police van after being arrested for the December 2014 killing.

The older of the two girls, who were aged 14 and 13 at the time, said she did not believe Ms Wrightson could die from being assaulted.

Selfie
BBC

Jury told how woman was stamped on and hit in face

During weeks of evidence at Leeds Crown Court, jurors heard graphic details of how the two schoolgirls beat Angela Wrightson to death.

The 39-year-old was found in her blood-spattered Hartlepool home in 2014 with at least 103 injuries.

Two girls, then aged 13 and 14, have today been convicted of murder.

The girl described attacking  Ms Wrightson, telling the court the pair of them "stamped on Angie's face", threw a television and printer at her and together picked up a table and "whacked Angie in the face with it, two times".

Angela Wrightson
Hartlepool Council

BreakingSchoolgirls guilty of murdering Angela Wrightson

Two 15-year-old girls have been found guilty of murdering Angela Wrightson.

The 39-year-old woman was found battered to death in her home in Hartlepool in December 2014.

She had suffered more than 100 injuries after being attacked with weapons including a coffee table and TV.

The girls were aged 14 and 13 at the time of the murder.

Angela Wrightson
Cleveland Police

BreakingAngela Wrightson death: Girls guilty of murder

Two teenage girls have been found guilty of the murder of Angela Wrightson.

More to follow.

Appeal to community for information in murder inquiry

Officers are continuing to visit houses around Westbourne Road in Hartlepool where the body of Norma Bell, 79, was found on Sunday to see if residents have any information.

People with elderly or vulnerable neighbours or relatives are being urged by police to keep an eye on their wellbeing. They also reminded people not to let strangers into their home without first checking their identification.

Det Supt Alastair Simpson said: “I would again like to take this opportunity to appeal to anyone living in the local area who may have seen or heard anything suspicious from late on Saturday evening into Sunday morning in Westbourne Road to contact police."

Norma Bell murder investigation: Photo of missing handbag released

A photograph of a handbag belonging to a woman found dead after a house fire in Hartlepool has been released by police investigating her murder.

The body of 79-year-old Norma Bell was discovered inside the house in Westbourne Road on Sunday morning.

Senior Investigating Officer, Det Supt Alastair Simpson, said: “We believe that a substantial amount of cash was taken from Norma’s home as well as her handbag.

“If anyone has noticed that someone they know has come into some money over the last couple of days and is concerned about a change in their behaviour, it is really important that they contact police.

Missing handbag
Cleveland Police

“Again, I would appeal to anyone with private CCTV in the area to check their footage and see if there is anything on there between Saturday evening and Sunday morning which could assist us with our investigation.”  

Norma Bell murder investigation: Substantial amount of cash believed to have been stolen

Detectives investigating the murder of a 79-year-old woman whose body was found after a house fire in Hartlepool say they believe a "substantial" amount of cash was also taken.

The body of 79-year-old Norma Bell was discovered inside the house in Westbourne Road on Sunday morning.  

Forensic experts are still at the scene and Cleveland Police said they believed hundreds of pounds appeared to have been taken from the house as well as her handbag.

Police said Mrs Bell, who had been a foster parent to more than 50 children and would have turned 80 next month, died before the fire started.  

Norma Bell
Cleveland Police

Weather: rain clearing and the chance of brighter spells

Rain and drizzle slowing clearing throughout the afternoon, with the chance of brighter spells later.

Skies will clear during the evening, when it will become rather chilly.

Weather
BBC

Arrest after suspected axe injury

An 18-year-old has been arrested after a man was wounded with what is believed to be an axe.

It follows a report of a group of youths fighting outside a shop in the Teams area of Gateshead on Monday evening.

A 20-year-old man was taken to hospital suffering from a serious head injury.

The arrested male is being questioned on suspicion of wounding.

New signing for Newcastle Falcons

BBC Sport

Sam Lockwood is to join Newcastle Falcons from Championship side Jersey at the end of the 2015-16 season.

The 27-year-old joined the islanders in January 2014 from Leeds Carnegie on loan before making a permanent move later that year. 

Sam Lockwood
BBC

Newcastle's director of rugby Dean Richards said: "Sam has been recognised as the best scrummaging loose-head in the Championship. 

"He is a good all-round player who will benefit from the challenge of stepping up to the Premiership."

Rail delays cause nation-wide disruption

Rail passengers in the North East are being warned there may be a knock-on effect in terms of delays and cancellations after overhead electric wires at Birmingham International Airport stopped working.

Virgin and Cross Country services are among those affected, with routes including London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Lottery cash to raise curtain on historical theatre

Lottery funding is to breathe new life into Darlington Civic Theatre.

The Grade II-Listed building has been awarded a £4.5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It will be used to create a new entrance and promenade gallery, celebrating its heritage, and for a vaulted function room in the former water tower.

Darlington Civic Theatre
Darlington Civic Theatre

Once work is complete, in Autumn 2017, it will reopen as the Darlington Hippodrome. 

Businesses urged to take advantage of Tall Ships opportunities

Businesses across Northumberland are being invited to find out how to be a supplier for a maritime event during the summer.

The North Sea Tall Ships Regatta Blyth 2016 is taking place during the August Bank Holiday weekend, and is expected to attract more than 30 Tall Ships and thousands of visitors.

Tall Ship in Blyth
BBC

Northumberland County Council is holding an event to highlight opportunities for local companies to get involved in the supply of goods and services, including catering, security services, fairgrounds and deckchairs.

This will take place at Blyth Workspace next Tuesday.