Brianna Ghey murder trial begins in Manchester

Brianna Ghey pictured outdoors wearing a light-coloured hoodie. Her hair is long and auburn and she is smiling and wearing thick-rimmed glasses. Trees can be seen in the background.

Nine months on from the devastating death of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey the trial of two teens charged with her murder has begun.

A boy and a girl both 16, who cannot be named for legal reasons, each face a charge of murdering the Birchwood schoolgirl in Culcheth Linear Park in February. 

Trans teenager Ghey was found dead on 11 February in Culcheth Linear Park in Culcheth, Warrington. Her death was determined to have been caused by multiple stab wounds. 

The teenagers were arrested at around 7.30pm on 12 February and charged in the early hours on 15 February. 

Both teenagers, who are being referred to as girl X and boy Y throughout the trial, entered not-guilty pleas ahead of this Monday’s (27 November) case.

The trial, which is expected to last up to four weeks, with the aim of finishing before Christmas, is being presided over by justice Amanda Yip, and will see prosecution led by Deanna Heer, with X represented by Richard Pratt and Y by Richard Littler.

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On the morning of the start of the trial, which was attended by Brianna Ghey’s family, Cheshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service reminded everyone that the criminal proceedings against both defendants are active, and they have the right to a fair trial. 

Both defendants arrived shortly before midday and at around 2.00pm 40 people were called into the courtroom, of which 14 potential jurors will be selected including two reserves who will hear the prosecution’s opening.

Justice Yip addressed the potential jurors before sending them to complete a questionnaire. Yip reminded all that the two defendants charged with Ghey’s murder were 15 at the time. 

She added: “There was quite a bit of press reporting and social media coverage at the time, one feature that was given some prominence was the fact that Brianna was transgender.

“If you did see things you may have even formed some initial uninformed views about the case.

“It is perfectly natural to feel shock when you hear of the killing of a young person.”

She said people should concentrate on the evidence when they sit on a jury, not the press or social media coverage, and she noted that there were vigils and a crowdfunded for Ghey – two matters asked about on the jury questionnaire. 

Both defendants also have the option of participating in the trial via a video link from their secure accommodation, a decision which Justice Yip made.

Yip said the trial will not start earlier than 10am each day and finish no later than 4.30pm.

Prosecution is due to begin to open the case later this afternoon, with evidence set to start on Tuesday (28 November).