Brianna Ghey: Transgender teenager’s killing might not be recorded as violence against women
The killing of a transgender 16-year-old girl in a park in broad daylight will not currently be recorded as a violent crime against a woman, it is understood.
Brianna Ghey was found by members of the public as she lay wounded on a path in Linear Park, Culcheth, just after 3pm on Saturday, having been stabbed. An ambulance was called but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her family paid tribute to the teenager, describing her as a "strong, fearless, one of a kind" daughter, sister and granddaughter.
It is understood that Brianna, who was well known for her popular videos on social media platform TikTok, was born a boy but had been living as a girl for a number of months before her death.
A 15-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, both from the local area, have been arrested on suspicion of murder.
It is understood that because Brianna was under 18, she would have been unable to acquire a gender recognition certificate.
Without that, her sex will be recorded on her death certificate as male. Current Home Office guidance advises police to record both the legal status of a person's sex and to separately record their gender identity when compiling annual statistics on victims of crime, sources have said.
Det Ch Supt Mike Evans, of Cheshire Constabulary, described the killing as a “targeted attack”. However, police said they do not currently believe the crime is related to the fact that Brianna is transgender.
Officers said they are keeping an “open mind” as to the motive. Detectives are continuing to trace the weapon used in the attack, police said.
Mr Evans said police are pursuing several lines of inquiry and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
He said: "A number of inquiries in relation to this incident are under way and we are doing all that we can to establish the exact circumstances of what has happened.
"At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the circumstances surrounding Brianna's death are hate-related.
"Patrols have been stepped up in the local area and officers will remain in the Culcheth area to provide reassurance and address any concerns that residents may have."
At the scene on Monday, a number of police vans could be seen parked in the surrounding area, with a number of uniformed officers patrolling the park.
Police tape lined a number of footpaths, cordoning off a large section of the area to the public. Police dogs were also at the scene.
Flowers were being left nearby, with messages including: "Fly high angel."
In a statement, the teenager’s family said: "Brianna was a much-loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister.
"She was a larger-than-life character who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her. Brianna was beautiful, witty and hilarious. Brianna was strong, fearless and one of a kind.
"The loss of her young life has left a massive hole in our family, and we know that the teachers and her friends who were involved in her life will feel the same.
"We would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support during this extremely difficult time. We would like to thank the police for their support, and witnesses for helping with the investigation.
"The continuation of respect for privacy is greatly appreciated."
Emma Mills, head teacher at Birchwood Community High School, where Brianna was a pupil, said: "We are shocked and truly devastated to hear of the death of Brianna.
"This is understandably a very difficult and distressing time for many and we will do our utmost to support our pupils and wider school community."
A number of children, still in their school uniforms, came to lay flowers at the police cordon at the entrance to the park.
Student Jordan Clayton, 19, who had met Brianna and knew her friends, also placed a bunch of roses at the scene.
He said: "I just felt really bad for her.
"She was really kind and bubbly and energetic and sweet. She was quite introverted, but when you got to speak to her, she was bubbly and sweet."
Donations on a GoFundMe crowdfunding page set up for Brianna's family, which said the schoolgirl was "looking forward to taking her exams this year", have passed £18,000.
Nadia Whittome, the Labour MP for Nottingham East, paid tribute to Brianna and said she “deserved a chance to become a beautiful adult woman”.
Harry Miller, a former police officer and founder of campaign group Fair Cop, said that if the killing was “not a hate crime”, it should be recorded as the tragic death of a young man.
He said: “I think this becomes important when it is categorised statistically. It mustn't be categorised as a hate crime if it isn’t a hate crime.
"If it isn't, it has to be categorised as the tragic murder of a young male.
“The victim is a young person, almost a minor who has been killed and you have a family who is grieving but once all that is put to one side it has to be recorded as the killing of a young boy.”
Journalist Tom Harwood said it was “unspeakably cruel” that the state would list Brianna as a boy on her death certificate.
He added: “A gender recognition certificate is not a passport to spaces - you don't need one for that. What it allows for is basic dignity on documents like marriage or death certificates.”
People can apply for a gender recognition certificate for their “affirmed gender” to be legally recognised in the UK.
Having a certificate means you can get married under your new gender, as well as update your birth certificate. You can also have your gender confirmed on your death certificate.