Nine teenagers given leave to appeal conviction for Houghton Feast murder of Jack Woodley

Nine teenagers jailed for life for the Houghton Feast murder of Jack Woodley have been given leave to appeal against their convictions.

Newcastle Crown Court was told eighteen-year-old Jack had been fatally stabbed after being ‘surrounded and isolated’ by a gang of youths who chased him down an alleyway.

He was punched, kicked, stamped on, and stabbed with a 25cm ‘Rambo-style’ knife during the attack on October 16, 2021, a jury was told.

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Prosecutors said the group had gone out ‘looking for serious trouble’.

Jack Woodley

Ten found guilty of murder

The 15-year-old who inflicted the fatal wound by stabbing Jack in the back admitted manslaughter but denied murder. He was convicted and ordered to be detained for a minimum of 17 years. The Echo understands he is not appealing

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They were granted leave to appeal by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division on December 21.

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At the start of the trial in March last year, prosecutor Mark McKone QC said that while only one youth stabbed Jack, the other nine were guilty due to “the concept of joint enterprise”.

Joint enterprise holds that an individual can be jointly convicted of another person’s crime, if the court decides they foresaw that the other party was likely to commit that crime.

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It has been extremely controversial, with campaigners arguing it has been used to convict defendants for crimes they did nit intend and could not have foreseen.

‘Prosecutors carefully assessed the evidence’

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But a Crown Prosecution Service spokesman defended the decision to charge all ten defendants in the Jack Woodley case with murder, whatever their involvement.

“It is right that those who assist or encourage someone to commit a violent crime are also prosecuted and punished,” he said.

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“Our prosecutors carefully assessed the evidence in this very complex case, considering each individual in respect of each charge.

“They concluded that our legal test was satisfied and, therefore, it was right that we put these defendants before the court.

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“The jury heard all the evidence and made their decision on each charge and each defendant, properly directed by the judge”