Mom overdoses in trial of killers who stabbed her 18-year-old son at a county fair

Devastated mum Zoe McGill has revealed the pain at the loss of her 18-year-old son Jack Woodley as his 10 killers were found guilty of his murder this week

Jack Woodley's mother, Zoey McGill, pictured, revealed that she felt suicidal after his killing
Jack Woodley’s mother Zoey McGill, pictured with husband Chris, revealed she had suicidal thoughts following his murder

A heartbroken mother whose son was killed by 10 teenagers at a carnival has revealed she overdosed while the gang was on trial.

Jack Woodley, 18, was killed in Houghton Fear, County Durham, last October by a group of teenagers who have been likened to “zombies attacking an animal”.

This week the gang of youngsters were all found guilty of murder at Newcastle Crown Court and face life behind bars.

After the harrowing ordeal of losing her son and reliving every parent’s worst nightmare in court, Jack’s heartbroken mother, Zoe McGill, tells how the “senseless” attack drove her to suicide.

“I actually overdosed during the trial,” the 35-year-old Durham resident said.

Jack Woodley, 18, was fatally stabbed in the back during an attack by a gang of teenagers



“It’s just terrible what they did to him. It was way worse than I expected.

“There was no reason for that. I just had enough and missed Jack.

“It was when a doctor spoke about his injuries. It was one on top of the other. I just freaked out.

“I had to sit in the hospital with Jack after he was attacked and I have these memories. I was in the courtroom and it just blew me away.”

Mrs McGill, a manager at the pharmaceutical company GSK in Barnard Castle, had spoken to her son shortly before the horrific attack.

She explained: “He called me before he was killed and he was happy. They had a good time.

“He asked for a little more money for rides. So I sent him some more money.

“At twenty past nine his friend texted me saying they were attacked.”

The jury was told Jack was punched, punched and kicked before being fatally stabbed in the back.

Mc McGill added: “We were shocked. We expected that Jack might have reciprocated.

“But when they went through the evidence everyone just said they were protecting themselves and they were still standing on him.

Jack Woodley with his younger brothers Jayden and Jenson


Craig Connor/Chronicle Live)

“It’s incredible for us to have to sit and listen because we’re just asking, why?

“Why would you continue? It’s terrible. What brings us is what he left. He must have suffered so much.

“I’ve always said I hope it’s quick, but then the evidence came out.

“That other kids could do that to another human being and not feel bad that that kid was in a ball and they were still moving on.

“It absolutely broke me.”

Newcastle Crown Court heard one of the attackers shout “Get the chopper out” as they approached the 18-year-old victim, one of whom was carrying a Rambo-style knife.

Flowers and messages were left in the window of the Britannia pub in Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland, where Jack Woodley was murdered

Jack was then punched, kicked, trampled and stabbed in the back while the group “prevented him from escaping and prevented other people from helping.”

An eyewitness said the youths were like a “herd of lions” when they charged.

Another witness who saw the violence said: “Jack fell to the ground so he could curl up into a ball.

“He was so scared. So many blows rained down on him. They were brutal.

“Everyone in the group just kicked the life out of Jack and kicked his head.

“The boys brutally kicked Jack, like zombies attacking an animal.

“I remember the terrified look on Jack’s face as he was being kicked, punched and kicked.”

Jack, who told his attackers he wanted to go home and not fight, died in hospital.

Ten youths, between the ages of 14 and 18, denied the murder and were tried by a jury.

After a two-month trial and three days of deliberations, the jury found all ten guilty of murder.

Prosecutor Mark McKone QC told the court that Jack and the youths who killed him had all been at the carnival that night and the murder took place near the Britannia Inn pub in Houghton.

Mr McKone said that while only one youth inflicted the fatal stab wound, the other nine were guilty because of “the concept of joint venture”.

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