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Jessie Wright murder: Islington man guilty of killing girl

13:17 12 April 2011

Killer Zakk Sackett

Killer Zakk Sackett

Archant

A BESOTTED killer who raped and strangled a schoolgirl before dumping her body behind a block of flats is facing a life sentence today (Tuesday).

Zakk Sackett, 20, was “obsessed” with 16-year-old Jessie Wright when he murdered her near his home in Outram Place, off Copenhagen Street, Islington.

Her bloodied body was found lying at the bottom of 15ft wall, her breasts exposed and her underwear missing.

Sackett, who is of “limited intelligence” and suffers from learning difficulties, did not appear in the dock as he was unanimously found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey.

Relatives of the victim cheered loudly and shouted “yes” from the packed public gallery as the jury of five women and six men - one juror was earlier discharged - announced its verdict.

Jessie’s mother Johanna Lucraft wept in the well of the court. Her father Tony Wright was also present as the verdict was announced.

Throughout the trial Sackett was classed as a “vulnerable defendant” and was hidden from the public gallery by screens.

He had admitted killing her but denied murder.

He told jurors he had sex with her three times, including on the night she died, but denied raping her.

Sackett claimed she had died in the early hours of March 4 last year whilst the two were ‘jostling about’ and he could not resuscitate her.

But prosecutor Dorian Lovell-Pank QC said this explanation was “drivel”.

“The young woman died from what the pathologist described as compression of the neck,” he added.

“After he had killed her, Zakk Sackett dumped her body in an out of the way place behind the flats were he lived.

“Jessie Wright was killed by this defendant in the course of being raped by him.”

Her body was found in an alleyway near the home Sackett shared with his grandmother in Outram Place, just north of King’s Cross.

She was discovered by chance as surveyors checked a wall at the back of the flats at 3.15pm - 14 hours after she was last seen alive.

“She had been dumped over the wall at the end of the walkway. The drop is about 15 feet down,” said Mr Lovell-Pank.

“The body was lying on its back and when it was first seen it was partially obscured by a piece of plywood.”

A postmortem found she had bruising to her neck consistent with both manual strangulation and the use of a ligature such as a piece of clothing.

Sackett’s DNA profile was found on her body.

Just minutes after the murder, Sackett tried to sell her mobile phone for £30.

Jessie, lived on the nearby Bemerton Estate, off Caledonian Road, and was a pupil of Maria Fidelis Convent School, in Somers Town.

Jessie’s uncle, John Thompson, warned Sackett to keep away from his niece after he tried to drag her into some bushes in a park.

He said: “I just thought it was kids stuff but I then spoke to Jessie and she said ‘No, he tried to get hold of me.’

“She wanted me to go and have a word with him.”

Mr Thompson said after confronting Sackett there was no more trouble between and the two stayed friends.

After she disappeared Sackett told a series of lies to her family and friends.

He even claimed that Jessie’s Albanian boyfriend had threatened to come round and kill them both after hearing they had slept together.

But the boyfriend was in Leyton with his family and had never even heard of Sackett.

Sackett was arrested on March 5 but made no comment in interview.

He later gave a statement saying he had watched the England game on the night of the murder and had only left home for five minutes to buy his uncle beer and cigarettes.

The court heard Sackett had been raised by his grandmother after his parents died when he was 18 months-old.

He did not go to school and intellectually he is in the bottom one per cent in the country.

Defence barrister Jeremy Dein QC said Sackett was of “exceptionally low intellect”.

Asked if he murdered her, Sackett said: “No, not at all. I would be too scared to hurt anybody.

“She was a lovely girl, she still is now. I always think about her. What happened, I didn’t mean for it to happen.”

Asked if he ever sexually assaulted her Sackett replied: “I am not a pervert or a nonce or anything like that. I am not one of them.”

He said the pair had been friends for about two and-a-half years and he was able to confide in her about his troubles, including the death of his parents.

Sackett told the jury he had consensual sex with the teenager in the early hours of March 4 as he had done on at least two other occasions.

Mr Dein said there was some “jostling” between Jessie and Sackett and “at some stage she came to be in a headlock-type hold.

“Sadly while accepting that his actions might well have caused her tragic death, he didn’t intend to hurt her, let alone to seriously injure her nor to kill her,’ said the barrister.

Sackett, of Outram Place, Islington, also has convictions for theft, assault and using threatening words and behaviour.

He will be sentenced this afternoon.

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