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Murderers’ families back rival dailies’ fight to name killer children

Two rival publishers are fighting to name ten youths convicted of murder in a move backed by all bar one of the killers’ families.

Reach plc and Newsquest have joined forces to call for reporting restrictions to be lifted after the teenagers were all found guilty of the murder of 18-year-old Jack Woodley.

In a case covered by both Reach’s Newcastle-based daily The Chronicle and Newsquest’s Darilington-based daily the Northern Echo, the ten defendants were convicted of murdering Mr Woodley in the town of Houghton-le-Spring.

Now, the families of nine of those convicted have supported the lifting of restrictions in order for the press to reveal the “true reality” of what happened on the night Jack was killed last year.

How The Chronicle covered the sentencing of Mr Woodley's killers

How The Chronicle covered the sentencing of Mr Woodley’s killers

One 15-year-old admitted delivering the fatal blow by stabbing Mr Woodley in the back, but his other accomplices were also convicted of murder and handed life sentences after a jury at Newcastle Crown Court was told of how the gang worked together to isolate and attack him.

Nine of the teens have launched appeals against their convictions for murder.

In a joint statement, their families said: “We, like the rest of the public, are deeply saddened by Jack’s death.

“We feel that if the public want to be angry about the loss of a young man’s life, they are justified.

“However, anger also needs to be directed towards the fact that ten people were convicted and out of those ten, only one person killed Jack Woodley, only one person carried a knife; only one person got themselves involved with serious violence against Jack.

“It’s time the public knew what really happened but because of the restrictions put in place by the judge, there’s a real possibility that the public may never know the true reality of what happened that night, our children have been silenced and now they face complete injustice.”

The case is thought to have been one of the first times as many as ten defendants have been found guilty of one murder.

Both The Chronicle and the Echo have confirmed to HTFP they have submitted applications for the restrictions to be lifted, but have declined to comment further on this issue at this stage.