Teenagers found guilty of Brianna Ghey’s murder

Two teenagers have been found guilty of murdering trans girl Brianna Ghey, who was killed in February 2023.

The jury of seven men and five women at Manchester Crown Court unanimously convicted the two teens of killing 16-year-old Ghey in February 2023, after deliberating for four hours and 40 minutes.

Ghey was stabbed 28 times in back, head and neck in a violent, daytime assault in Culceth Linear Park in Warrington, Cheshire.

The two teens, both 16, have only been known only as Girl X and Boy Y during the trial due to their age. They denied the murder charges and instead blamed each other for Ghey’s death.

Judge Mrs Justice Yip said she will have to impose a “life sentence” on them with a sentencing hearing expected in the New Year.

The judge explained what she will have to decide is the “minimum amount of time you will be required to serve before you might be considered for release” and will not undertake such decisions this week.

“I’m going to ask for some reports in relation to each of you,” she added.

Trans girl killed: Brianna Ghey's mother Esther spoke out about the impact her daughter's death had had on her and her family.
Brianna Ghey and her mum Esther (Esther Ghey)

During the course of the trial, the court heard how the pair would swap violent and dark messages with each other about murder, death torture.

The jury was told both teens extensively planned Ghey’s murder for weeks beforehand and also drew up a list of other children they wanted to harm.

A handwritten murder note, detailing plans to kill Ghey, was discovered in Girl X’s bedroom by police after she had been arrested in relation to the crime. The prosecution also laid out Girl X’s fascination with serial killers and violent content, which she would consume on the internet.

Boy Y described her as not a “normal” person who would make jokes about “dead babies” and said that she called herself a “Satanist”.

The prosecution also told the jury how Boy Y referred to Ghey as “it”, rather than use she/her pronouns for the teen, which he said was a “joke” between himself and Girl X.

The pair told police that while they planned to kill Ghey they did not plan to make it a reality, with each blaming the other for the teen’s death.

It has been widely reported that there was no emotion on their faces as the verdicts were read, but there were gasps from within the court.

Following the result of the case, Mike Evans – head of crime at Cheshire Police – said, as quoted by the BBC,: “These are two very warped individuals who have done what they’ve done.

“I think they killed her because they wanted to prove that they could, or that sort of thirst for killing.

In a statement outside court, Ghey’s family said the two defendants “preyed” upon the 16-year-old.

Esther Ghey, speaking outside court, described her daughter as “larger than life, funny, witty and fearless”, adding their house feels “empty without her laughter”.

“To know how scared my usually fearless child must have been when she was alone in that park, with someone that she called her friend, will haunt me forever,” she said.

She went on to say that prior to the start of the trial she felt some “sympathy” for the defendants “because they had ruined their own lives, as well as ours”.

“But, now knowing the true nature and seeing the remorse for what they have done to Brianna I have lost all sympathy that I made previously hard for them,” the mother continued. “And I’m glad that they will spend many years in prison and away from society.”

She added that the family will take a number of weeks to “heal” following the trial but Esther Ghey said she will “back at the end of January to continue my campaigning for better than mental health support for young people and their families”.

Peter Spooner, 16-year-old Ghey’s father, told the press outside court that he knew his child was going to be a “star” and “the amount of support she received from the followers on Tiktok proves this”.

“It’s difficult to comprehend how some people can do these vile things in the world and don’t understand how cruel and heartbreaking their actions can be,” he said.

“The impact of Brianna’s death has not just affected me as a father, but also my whole family. My heart bleeds every day for Brianna and this will never go away.”

Trans girl killed: Brianna Ghey was murdered in February 2023.
Brianna Ghey ((GoFundMe)

In a statement, deputy chief crown prosecutor Ursula Doyle of CPS Mersey Cheshire said the case has been “one of the most distressing” the CPS had had to deal with.

“The planning, the violence and the age of the killers is beyond belief.

“Brianna Ghey was subjected to a frenzied and ferocious attack and was stabbed 28 times in broad daylight in a public park.”

Doyle continued: “Girl X and Boy Y appear to have been a deadly influence on each other and turned what may have started out as dark fantasies about murder into a reality.

“The pages and pages of whats app messages between the two, planning and plotting to kill people, talking of murder, torture and cruelty were very difficult to read.

“The messages provided a terrifying insight into the minds of the two defendants. However, they also provided us with the detailed planning of the attack and then the attempts to cover it up.

She added the CPS “authorised a charge of murder for both of the defendants” as “they were both equally responsible in planning the killing and carrying it out”.

“In the trial,” Doyle continued, “the defendants tried to blame each other to absolve themselves. The jury has clearly seen their explanations for the lies that they were.

“This has been a difficult prosecution not least because two very young people were on trial for the most serious offence known to criminal law. It has involved using a number of measures to ensure that the defendants could participate fully in the trial and enable them to give their evidence.

“The Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank the family of Brianna Ghey for the courage and dignity that they have shown throughout these proceedings. We hope today’s verdict brings some solace, and our thoughts and sympathies remain with them at this difficult time.”

This article was originally published on 20 December 2023 and updated with additional information on 21 December 2023.