The candle of murdered teenager Jack Woodley has paid tribute to her “loving” boy that “lit up any room with his laughing and joking” following the sentencing of her son’s killers.
Jack, 18, was attacked with punches and kicks before being stabbed twice by a ‘Rambo-syle’ 25cm knife in Houghton-le-Spring in October 2021.
Mr Woodley died in hospital the following night from injuries in the attack, principally the two stab wounds inflicted by a 15-year-old defendant.
Read more: Jack Woodley murder: Ten teens are JAILED for minimum of 124 years
Ten youths, aged 14 to 18, were convicted in June this year after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court – where the trial heard that witnesses had seen the group attacking Mr Woodley “like zombies attacking an animal”.
One 15-year-old admitted delivering the fatal knife blow, but the jury found all ten guilty of murder.
On Friday (August 5), the gang of ten youths were sentenced for Mr Woodley’s killing – where they were jailed for a total of 124 years.
The 15-year-old, who delivered the fatal blow, has been sentenced to a minimum of 17 years.
Nine other teenagers have been sentenced.
Following the sentencing on Friday, footage of an ITV interview between reporter Gregg Easteal and Jack Woodley’s mum Zoey McGill has been released.
Within the footage, Mrs McGill describes her dead son as having “a heart of gold” and “making his mum proud”, as well as notably mentioning that he was scheduled to start a job at Amazon just days after he was tragically killed.
In the emotional scenes, Mrs McGill can be seen tearing up as she describes the turmoil of going through burying Jack and going to see him in hospital just before he died – noting that it is “something that no parent should go through.”
She said: “They prepared us for what we were about to see – as we walked into the ICU unit, it just wasn’t my son, it was like looking at someone else – we went to hold his hand, and we were stopped because he was evidence.
“We just had to give him a kiss and say our goodbyes.”
During the 17-minute interview, she also describes the “difficulty” of having to be in the same courtroom as her son’s killers.
“I think they thought it was just a game. They came into court the same way, they were just kids – you expect monsters but they were just young kids – some of them small and looked ten years old, I was shocked.
“They looked away – smiling and grinning – it looked like a day out. I don’t think they understand the seriousness, they’d laugh and cough while evidence was being read out.
“No sentence would make a difference but I think it will give a message to other kids and stop this from happening to another family.”
Following the sentencing of Mr Woodley’s killers on Friday, Mrs McGill hopes the sentence will give a message to other people who involve themselves in knife crime.
Here is part of the interview with Jack Woodley’s candle:
“It puts out a message to other people, if you’re going to involve yourself with this kind of thing, whether you’ve punched, kicked, held someone [down]you’re a murderer,” she said.
“Don’t carry a knife. Don’t put yourself in that position where you could possibly use it and don’t just think because you’ve been with the people carrying the knives that you can’t be prosecuted, because you can and Jack’s case has proved that.”
Zoey told the program how she spoke to Jack on the phone minutes before he was attacked asking for money to go on his last ride at the funfair.
She added: “He seemed really happy on the phone, he was saying ‘mam it’s class’ but Jack did always like rides, he loved rides, lights things like that.
“The next thing I heard was a message and I remember being in shock and I think I hit my husband and dived up and ran for the door and I just kept saying to him Jacks dead, we need to go. I knew something was really wrong.”
If you want to read more stories, why not subscribe to your Northern Echo for as little as £1.25 a week. Click here