Jessie Wright killer will serve minimum of 25 years

A BESOTTED killer who raped and murdered a 16-year-old schoolgirl who was supposed to be his friend has been jailed for life.

Zakk Sackett, 20, was “obsessed” with Jessie Wright when he strangled her near his home in Outram Place, off Copenhagen Street, Islington, and dumped her body behind a block of flats.

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

Relatives of the victim cheered loudly and shouted “yes” from the packed public gallery as the jury unanimously convicted him of murder on Tuesday.

Jailing Sackett for a minimum of 25 years, Judge Timothy Pontius said Sackett had killed Jessie in the course of raping her - and may well have strangled her with her own thong.

“The defendant, perhaps as a result of infatuation, forced himself upon her in the course of raping her, using some kind of ligature and his hands around her throat in order to subdue her and carry out the rape,” Judge Pontius said.

“No-right thinking person could fail to have been horrified by the defendant’s treatment of Jessie after killing her.

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“He dragged her up the flight of stairs before bundling her over that low wall to fall 15 feet or so into a wooded area.

“It is also shocking that the defendant in only a short time was selling Jessie’s mobile phone for a few pounds, thus demonstrating his clear knowledge that she would have no further use for it.”

Defence barrister Jeremy Dein QC said Sackett was of “exceptionally low intellect” and had been taunted in jail as “the fat murderer”. He was raised by his grandmother after his parents died when he was 18-months-old and throughout the trial he was classed as a “vulnerable defendant” and hidden from the public gallery by screens.

But he tried to flog her phone for �30 in a local shop, told a series of lies to Jessie’s family and friends after she disappeared, and even claimed that her Albanian boyfriend had threatened to come round and kill them both after hearing they had slept together.

Detective Chief Inspector John Macdonald, of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: “Sackett has lied throughout this case in an effort to save his own skin. He couldn’t care less about what he did to Jessie.

“She was supposed to be his friend but when she made it plain she was not interested in a physical relationship, he murdered her during the course of a sexual attack.

“He is a coward, a danger to women, and I’m pleased for Jessie’s family and her friends that they’ve seen him get what he deserves.”

Jessie, who lived on the Bemerton Estate, off Caledonian Road, Islington, and was a pupil at Maria Fidelis Convent School, in Somers Town, had battled through three brain operations after contracting pneumonia just a year before she was murdered.

In a statement to the court, her mother Joanne Lucraft said: “Jessie was a happy, bright, intelligent girl who enjoyed life and wanted to live it to the full.

“Jessie had a traumatic time when she was 15 years old when she was rushed into hospital and underwent brain surgery. Jessie has been taken away from us in an unimaginable way. We are heartbroken and this has torn our lives apart.”

Jessie’s father Anthony Wright added: “She was a beautiful loving girl with a zest for life. Zakk Sackett has taken a special person from all of us.”