Teen girl killers who tortured Angela Wrightson to death will stay anonymous for life

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Two teenage girls who murdered a vulnerable alcoholic in her own home will remain anonymous for life.

The pair were aged 13 and 14 when they put 39-year-old Hartlepool woman Angela Wrightson through a five-hour ordeal while posing for Snapchat selfies.

The horrific crime saw the victim hit with a shovel, a TV, a coffee table and a stick studded with screws.

They were given life sentences with a minimum term of 15 years after a trial at Leeds Crown Court in 2016.

Both killers have now turned 18 but a High Court ruling means their identities will remain a secret for the rest of their lives.

They argued naming them would create a serious risk of “self-harm or even suicide”.

In a ruling published on Thursday, Mrs Justice Tipples granted the pair – known only as D and F – permanent injunctions, preventing them from being identified in relation to the murder.

The judge said: “I am quite satisfied that this is a case where there is a real and immediate risk of serious physical harm or death to F at her own hand if her anonymity is not preserved.”

This is an “exceptional” case where “it is necessary to grant F the injunction sought in order to prevent her from being identified in connection with the murder of Angela Wrightson”, she said.

The judge said the other girl was also entitled to an injunction banning her identification as one of the killers, noting that expert psychological evidence had shown that if her identity was revealed it would “significantly increase her risk of self-harm”.

The judge said it is clear there is ongoing media interest in the case and if the girls’ identities were revealed “it is inevitable that this will attract very significant media coverage locally and nationally.”

She went on to say: “However, the evidence before me does not … demonstrate convincingly that, if the claimants’ identities are revealed there is a real and immediate risk of serious physical harm or death to either D or F from third parties.”

Mrs Justice Tipples also said that while there is evidence of “identifiable threats from social media and online comments”, she did not consider there is “a credible threat of violence from social media and on-line comments” which engages the two killers’ rights under human rights laws.

Miss Wrightson suffered a horrific and prolonged attack after letting the girls into her home in Stephen Street, Hartlepool, in December 2014.

The 5ft 4in six-and-a-half stone victim was found dead in her blood-spattered living room the next morning.

After the attack, the girls even boasted to friends about being given a lift home by police, who were unaware of the murder.

They took a photo which they posted online with the message: “Me and (older girl) in the back of the bizzie van again.”

At a hearing in October, Edward Fitzgerald QC told Mrs Justice Tipples that both girls suffer from “recognisable mental conditions”, adding that they are “extremely psychologically vulnerable”.

There are also concerns that “lifting anonymity would create a very significant risk of harm from third parties”, he said.

Mr Fitzgerald argued: “The claimants live in fear that, if their names are disclosed, they will be attacked. And that affects their mental health and threatens their rehabilitation, and indeed promotes the risk of self-harm or even suicide.”