Two teenagers, a boy and girl both aged 16, have been convicted of the “ferocious” murder of transgender girl Brianna Ghey in a public park in Warrington, England.
Details of the Fatal Attack
Brianna, 16, was stabbed to death on February 11th this year in linear parkland next to the River Mersey. The popular teenager suffered at least 30 stab wounds during the “frenzied” and “merciless” attack, which lasted just eight minutes.
Prosecutors described it as a “planned ambush and execution.” Brianna was specifically targeted by the defendants, who had planned over a number of days on Snapchat to kill someone “because they simply wanted to.”
Sequence of Events on Day of Murder
- 11:00am – Defendants seen on CCTV leaving one of their homes
- 11:06am – Brianna sends a text message to a friend about meeting “a mate”
- 11:09am to 11:17am – Brianna murdered at the scene of the crime
- 11:37am – Defendants caught again on CCTV having returned home
Brianna’s body was found by members of the public at around 12:15pm. She was declared dead at the scene soon after.
Planning and Motive
In the lead up to the horrific crime, the teenage boy and girl exchanged violent and disturbing messages over social media in which they discussed “brutally murdering” someone.
Prosecutor Michael Brady QC told the jury that the messages between the defendants “reveal that their motivation was to kill someone because they simply wanted to.” He said they had a “desire for murder for murders sake”.
The court heard that in one message the boy told the girl: “I feel like murdering people on a daily basis and having a desire to kill people for fun.” To which she replied: “Same.”
No Evidence Murder Was Transphobic
Cheshire Police have said from early on in the investigation that there was no evidence to suggest Brianna’s transgender identity was a motivation for her murder.
The court heard that the defendants had targeted other people prior to Brianna, suggesting she was killed at random having simply been “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Defendants’ Reaction After the Murder
After carrying out the fatal attack, the boy and girl were seen laughing and hugging each other near the crime scene.
They then went to a shop where they bought a drink and more cigarettes, before heading back to one of their family homes where they met friends.
Witnesses described them as being “happy” and showing no signs of distress or trauma.
CCTV footage captured later in the day showed them laughing together in public once again.
Conviction and Sentencing
On December 20th, after a four-week trial, the jury found both defendants guilty of murder by majority verdicts. They had denied murder but admitted manslaughter.
The boy and girl showed no emotion as the verdicts were delivered. Members of Brianna’s family sitting in the public gallery cried and comforted each other.
|Possession of a Bladed Article
The two teenagers have been remanded in custody and will be sentenced early next year. Due to being under 18 years old at the time, their identities have been protected.
Brianna’s mother said after the verdict: “Brianna was full of life. She was beautiful, witty, intelligent and an amazing daughter. Her smile would light up a room.”
What Happens Next?
The two defendants will undergo psychiatric reports before facing sentencing, expected to take place in early 2023. Due to being under 18 at the time of the offence, they face a maximum term of life with a minimum of 12 years behind bars.
Brianna Ghey’s family said now the trial had concluded, her funeral can finally be held so she “can finally be laid to rest and we as a family can begin the grieving process”.
Her mother added: “Brianna was everything a parent could ask for in a daughter, and so much more.”
The case has prompted vigils and debates around hate crime and violence against transgender people. LGBTQ+ advocates are calling for better education in schools to foster more tolerance and understanding.
The recent spate of attacks has intensified calls for the UK Government to speed up it’s proposed ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’, as well as reforming the Gender Recognition Act to make it easier for trans people to get legal recognition.
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