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Islington schoolgirl Jessie Wright was raped then strangled, court told

PUBLISHED: 12:08 24 March 2011

Victim Jessie Wright

Victim Jessie Wright

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A 16-YEAR-OLD schoolgirl was raped and strangled before being dumped at the back of a block of flats, a court heard this week.

Jessie Wright was allegedly murdered by her friend Zakk Sackett, 20, near his home in Outram Place, off Copenhagen street, Islington.

Sackett, who is of “limited intelligence” and suffers from learning difficulties, went on trial at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

Special screens were put up in the gallery to shield him from the view of members of the public on order of the judge Timothy Pontius.

Opening the case, prosecutor Dorian Lovell-Pank said that Jessie was killed in the early hours of March 4 last year.

“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.

“The prosecution say that 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.

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

She had been going out with an Albanian boy for five months and was only friends with Sackett, who was then aged 19, the court heard.

Mr Lovell-Pank said: “They would hang out together around the area where they both lived but they were not and they never had been boyfriend and girlfriend.”

The court heart that Sackett sold Jessie’s phone for £15 within minutes of killing her and dumping her body.

He offered it to a local shopkeeper for £30 at 2.14am but settled for half that figure after haggling, said Mr Lovell-Pank.

Jessie had spent the previous day shopping before visiting her uncle and aunt.

She then returned to her grandmother’s home for something to eat before setting out again after midnight.

Mobile phone records showed that Sackett rang her at around 12.38am.

CCTV cameras later show the pair of them with a moped near the parking bays at Outram Place.

They returned with the bike at 1am and at 1.11am Sackett’s mobile went silent for one hour and 13 minutes.

Neighbours heard raised voices, swearing and a scream at around 2am, the court heard.

Mr Lovell-Pank said: “We are confident that it is then that Jessie must have been killed.”

Jessie’s body was only found by chance by surveyors checking a wall at the back of the flats at 3.15pm.

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

When Jessie’s body was discovered, her top was pulled up exposing her breasts and her thong was missing. It was later found torn in the parking bay.

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, the court heard.

Mr Lovell-Pank said: “The findings are consistent with this defendant having sexual intercourse with Jessie any time in the two days before her death.

“We say that the sexual intercourse that this defendant had with Jessie happened very close to the killing.”

Jessie’s best friend told jurors that Sackett was “obsessed” with the 16-year-old victim.

Chelsea Strutton, 18, said: “He was obsessed and she didn’t want to know.

“He was being flirty, flirting all the time trying to put her down, saying rude words to her and being nasty when she was telling him to go away.

“He was pretty nasty. He would say ‘I will get to have both of you in my bed one day’.

“Just loads of sexual things, stuff that he would do to us and sexual words. She would swear at him, tell him to go away, call him ugly.”

Sackett denies a single charge of murder.

The trial continues.


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