A mother whose teenager son was murdered has recalled the moment she was stopped from holding his hand because his body was to be used as evidence.
Zoe McGill saw 18 year-old Jack Woodley’s near lifeless body in hospital after he was attacked by a gang of 10 teenagers while returning home from a funfair in October last year.
He was fatally stabbed after being “surrounded and isolated” by the group of then 14 to 17-year-olds who chased him down an alleyway in Houghton le Spring, Sunderland.
Recalling that night, Ms McGill said: “When we walked into the ICU unit, it wasn’t my son.
“It was like looking at someone else. He was bloated from all the treatment he’d had. We went to hold his hand and we were stopped because he was evidence.”
Nurses eventually arrived with gloves and a gown for his mother to wear in order for her to hold his hand.
Jack – who was punched, kicked, stamped on and stabbed with 25cm “Rambo style” knife during the attack on 16 October – died in theatre during a second operation to save his life.
Prosecutors said the group had gone out “looking for serious trouble that day” and tried to “create conflict” with Mr Woodley at the festival as they “looked for any excuse to attack someone”.
On Friday, the 15-year-old who inflicted the fatal wound by stabbing Mr Woodley in the back was detained for a minimum of 17 years.
Judge Rodney Jameson QC sentenced the other nine defendants, aged between 14 and 18, to minimum terms of between eight and 15 years’ detention.
He told them that if they are then released, they will remain on licence for the rest of their lives.
The total minimum terms for all the defendants adds up to 124 years and six months.
Nine of the youths, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had denied murder and manslaughter.
One pleaded guilty to manslaughter, admitting he stabbed Mr Woodley but denying he intended to kill him, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
At the start of the trial in March, prosecutor Mark McKone QC said that while only one youth stabbed Mr Woodley, the other nine were guilty due to “the concept of joint enterprise”.
A jury convicted all 10 defendants of murder in June.
Nine of them intend to appeal against their convictions, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed this week.
Sentencing the group, the judge said: “No sentence can restore Jack to his family and loved ones, or reduce the pain they will endure now and in the future.
“It may seem unfair that you will be able to live at liberty while still young men, while Jack cannot because of what you did.”