Judge says killing was driven by transphobia; murderers revealed to public for first time
Two 16-year-old teenagers convicted of murdering transgender schoolgirl Brianna Ghey have been sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 24 and 21 years before parole can be considered.
Judge Names Killers, Citing Public Interest
In a rare move, the judge named the perpetrators – Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe – citing immense public interest in the case. Their identities had been protected during trial due to their ages.
“The murder was driven by the desire to attack a transgender person,” the judge stated, calling it a hate crime.
|Minimum Years Before Parole
|Age at Time of Murder
| Scarlett Jenkinson | Life | 21 | 15
| Eddie Ratcliffe | Life | 24| 15
Teens Lured Brianna to Park Before Launching Frenzied Knife Attack
Jenkinson and Ratcliffe lured Brianna to a secluded park on February 11, 2023 before launching what authorities described as a “brutal, frenzied, ferocious attack.” Brianna suffered at least 123 sharp force wounds across her face, neck, and chest.
Prosecutors revealed the teenage killers – obsessed with gory slasher films and real-life serial killers – had planned the murder for weeks, making extensive notes on killing methods.
“You discussed killing methods, including murdering Brianna Ghey, before you met her that day,” the judge told Ratcliffe.
Transphobia, Obsession with Gore Drove Attack
In sentencing the remorseless teenagers, the judge emphasized that transphobia and a morbid fascination with extreme violence were the key motives.
“The evidence is clear that both of you are filled with hatred and bigotry, which motivated in part this attack,” he stated. He also cited their lists idolizing notorious serial killers and spree murderers.
Both Jenkinson and Ratcliffe were described as social outcasts who bonded over their obsession with the macabre on the dark corners of the internet before hatching their gruesome plot.
Brianna Remembered as “Much Loved Daughter”
In an emotional victim impact statement, Brianna’s mother remembered her daughter as a “much loved always smiling, beautiful daughter and granddaughter.”
The high school student was just weeks away from celebrating her 17th birthday at the time of her death.
Brianna’s killing prompted vigils and an outpouring of grief and outrage across Britain, highlighting the ongoing threats faced by transgender youth. Politicians and LGBTQ advocates called for more legal protections and education around transphobic hate crimes.
Further Legal Battles Ahead Over Parole
While Jenkinson and Ratcliffe received mandatory life sentences for murder, their minimum terms before parole eligibility falls significantly below the 30-year starting point for juveniles under recent sentencing reforms.
Victim advocates decried the lower minimums, while defense attorneys argued the teenagers’ young ages were a mitigating factor.
“Make no mistake – there will need to be rehabilitation for these defendants to ever be considered safe,” a Ministry of Justice source said. “We anticipate further legal battles when parole is eventually sought.”
For now, both will remain incarcerated indefinitely, with their release resting on demonstrations of remorse and rehabilitation. By the time they walk free, they will be in their late 30s or early 40s.
Public Debates Appropriate Punishment
As the public learned the faces and identities of the previously anonymous convicted killers, debates swirled around appropriate punishment. Some called for harsher penalties for murder driven by bigotry and hate.
“This was no childhood spat – it was an act of pure evil driven by transphobia,” Brianna’s uncle said after court. “More needs to be done so no other family faces this horror.”
Others argued the justice system should focus on rehabilitation, especially with such young offenders.
“Undeniably this was a horrific, tragic crime,” said law professor Matthew Clair. “However we must also consider research on adolescent brain development and capacity for change. Locking children away forever cannot be our only solution.”
While the formal sentencing settles the legal case, the wider questions around youth violence, rehabilitation, and transgender hate seem far from resolved in the court of public opinion.
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