Boy and girl found guilty of murder of teenager Brianna Ghey

A boy and a girl have been found guilty of the “frenzied” murder of teenager Brianna Ghey.

Brianna, 16, was stabbed with a hunting knife 28 times in her head, neck, chest and back after being lured to Linear Park, Culcheth, a village near Warrington, Cheshire, on the afternoon of February 11.

The pair, identified only as girl X and boy Y, both now aged 16 but 15 at the time, had denied murder and each blamed the other for the killing of the transgender teenager, described as “horrific” by detectives.

Intelligent, “high functioning” and coming from normal backgrounds, the trial heard the pair had a fascination for violence, torture and murder and had planned the killing for weeks, detailed in a handwritten murder plan and phone messages found by detectives.

A jury of seven men and five women convicted the two following a four-week trial at Manchester Crown Court, after four hours and 40 minutes of deliberations.

Boy Y has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and is non-verbal and girl X has traits of autism and ADHD.

Brianna Ghey murder trial as defendants are found guilty.
A family photo of Brianna Ghey, as a boy and a girl, both 16, have been found guilty at of her murder (Family handout/Cheshire Police/PA Wire)

Trial Judge Mrs Justice Yip will now discuss with counsel when the defendants, both facing mandatory jail terms for life, will be sentenced.

She thanked jurors for their service on an “extremely difficult and, at times, distressing case”, saying: “You probably didn’t anticipate sitting on a case as emotionally difficult as this one.”

She told them they would be provided with a letter excusing them from further jury service.

Mrs Justice Yip told the two defendants: “I will have to impose a life sentence. What I have to decide is the minimum amount of time you will be required to serve before you might be considered for release.

“I’m not going to do that this week. I’m going to ask for some reports in relation to each of you.”

Deputy chief crown prosecutor Ursula Doyle, of CPS Mersey-Cheshire, said: “This has been one of the most distressing cases I have ever dealt 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.

“Girl X and Boy Y appear to have been a deadly influence on each other and turned their dark fantasies about murder into a reality. The extensive messages between the two, planning and plotting to kill people, talking of murder, torture and cruelty, were difficult to read.

“The messages provided a terrifying insight into the minds of the two defendants – but also revealed the detailed planning of their attack and subsequent attempts to cover it up. The case posed a unique set of challenges for prosecutors, not least of the defendants’ young age and their additional vulnerabilities.

“To ensure a fair trial and deliver a sound conviction, the CPS worked with all parties – including the police, courts and defence team – to make sure facilities such as video links, a transcribing service and communications specialists were in place.

“I want to thank Brianna’s family for the courage and dignity that they have shown throughout this case. I hope today’s verdict brings some solace, and our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.”