What happened to murdered transgender teenager Brianna Ghey?

Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe have been identified as the killers following their 'frenzied, ferocious and disturbing' murder of Brianna Ghey in Warrington in February 2022.

Undated family handout photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @PoliceWarr of Brianna Ghey, 16, from Birchwood, Warrington in Cheshire, who was found dead in Culcheth Linear Park in Warrington, Cheshire with serious injuries. Cheshire Constabulary said officers were called to the park at around 3.13pm on Saturday following reports about the girl. Emergency services attended but the teenager was pronounced dead at the scene. Issue date: Sunday February 12, 2023.
Brianna Ghey, 16, was stabbed to death in Culcheth Linear Park in Warrington, Cheshire in February. (PA)

The boy and girl who murdered trans teenager Brianna Ghey have been named as Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe.

The defendants, who are both 16 but were 15 at the time of the brutal killing, were identified only as girl X and boy Y during their four-week trial last December at Manchester Crown Court. Both face a mandatory life sentence.

They were aged 15 when they carried out the “disturbing” plan to murder Brianna, 16, in a “frenzied and ferocious” attack with a hunting knife on a Saturday afternoon in a park near Warrington.

It was ruled that an order banning identification be lifted following representations on behalf of the media made by the PA news agency and ITN. Brianna’s family supported the media application.

How was Brianna killed?

At the trial, the court ruled the two teenagers killed 16-year-old Brianna - who was described as being anxious, withdrawn and rarely leaving her home - in Culcheth Linear Park, Cheshire, on 11 February.

The court heard that discussions between the two killers that led to the murder began in December 2022, when Jenkinson messaged Ratcliffe, telling him she was “obsessed over someone” called Brianna but did not have feelings for them.

The following month, Ratcliffe sent Jenkinson a photograph of a hunting knife and told her: “Spent my money. I bought a knife." On 23 January, Jenkinson messaged Ratcliffe, telling him she gave Brianna so many ibuprofen gel tablets it “should have been enough to kill her”.

Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe, both 16, have been named as the killers of teenager Brianna Ghey. (PA)
Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe, both 16, have been named as the killers of teenager Brianna Ghey. (PA)

On 3 February, Jenkinson sent Ratcliffe a picture of a handwritten note of their plan of how to kill Brianna, titled “Saturday 11th February 2023. Victim: Brianna Ghey”.

On the day of Brianna's death, she sent a message to her mother at 1.41pm saying she was on a bus by herself and of being "scared". She met Jenkinson and boy Y at a bus stop at 1.53pm and sent another message to a friend describing Jenkinson as "weird". At 3.13pm, Brianna was found lifeless by dog walkers Kathryn and Andrew Vize and declared dead at the scene less than an hour later.

What we know about the killers

Both killers had a fascination for violence, murder and torture the trial heard, with Jenkinson enjoying watching “snuff” and killing videos on the dark web.

She said that, aged 14, she downloaded an app allowing her access to the Dark Web and “Red Rooms” where she enjoyed watching the torture and murder of real people. Jenkinson also compiled notes on serial killers, including Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker, and the notorious cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer.

The court heard that the pair drew up a “kill list” of four other children before settling on Brianna as the target.

Members of the public attend a candle-lit vigil at College Green in Bristol city centre on Tuesday night in memory of transgender teenager Brianna Ghey. (PA)
Members of the public attend a candlelit vigil at College Green in Bristol city centre in memory of transgender teenager Brianna Ghey. (PA)

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.

Deputy chief crown prosecutor Ursula Doyle, of CPS Mersey-Cheshire, said after the conviction: “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."

Ratcliffe was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and is non-verbal and Jenkinson has traits of autism and ADHD. The pair denied murder and blamed each other for Brianna's death. Neither defendant made any visible reaction as their guilty verdicts were delivered.

Esther Ghey, mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey, reads a statement to the media outside of Manchester Crown Court, in Manchester, north-west England on December, 20, 2023. Two teenagers were on December 20, 2023 found guilty of the murder of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey, who was found with fatal wounds in a park in Warrington in February 2023. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Esther Ghey, mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey, reads a statement to the media. (Getty)

What the family said

Speaking outside court after the verdicts, Brianna’s mother Esther Ghey said: “To now know how scared my usually fearless child must have been when she was alone in the park with someone that she called her friend will haunt me forever.

“Prior to the trial, I have had moments where I felt sorry for the defendants because they have ruined their own lives as well as ours.

“But now, knowing the true nature of the two and seeing neither display an ounce of remorse for what they have done to Brianna, I have lost any sympathy that I previously had for them, and I am glad that they will spend many years in prison and away from society.”

Following the convictions, Liverpool's Liver building was lit up in tribute to Brianna.

The teenager's father, Peter Spooner, said his "heart bleeds every day for Brianna". He added: "This will never go away – and the amount of guilt I have can sometimes be unbearable. But I will ensure her memory lives on in my thoughts and dreams.”

Tributes to Brianna

Brianna's headteacher Emma Mills said Brianna was "such a huge character in school, losing her has hit everybody so hard", and added that "the way we lost her has made it so much more difficult to comprehend". Mills described Brianna as "quick-witted and funny" and said she could always make somebody laugh, in any situation.

As well as the tribute from the teen's family and those who knew her, well-wishers inundated her popular TikTok account with messages and comments, with one describing the 16-year-old as a "sweet angel".

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Messages were posted under videos of the 16-year-old expressing herself, lip-synching to songs and trying on different outfits One wrote: "Oh you sweet angel. I’m so sorry Brianna, you didn’t deserve this. So beautiful and so young, absolutely heartbreaking. How could anyone do this."

A video posted to Brianna's TikTok account, @gingerpuppyx, on the day she died, received thousands of comments. One said: "So gorgeous. so sad to see people in the world taken too soon, and in the worst ways."

Two friends, Victoria and Jacob Potter, set up a GoFundMe appeal for Brianna's family, which raised more than £114,000.

Watch: Police condemn 'senseless' murder of Brianna Ghey

Was it a transphobic hate crime?

The frenzied stabbing led to worldwide protests and vigils against perceived transphobia. But Brianna was not murdered by two teens because she was transgender, detectives believe.

The trial heard Ratcliffe used ‘dehumanising’ language when talking about Brianna, referring to her as an ‘it’ and referring to her as a “tranny” or “femboy.”

Detective Superintendent Mike Evans, head of crime at Cheshire Police, said he believed Jenkinson and Ratcliffe had a “thirst for killing” and it was Brianna’s vulnerability and accessibility that made her a target. “So I still think to this day, Brianna wasn’t killed because she was transgender," he said.

However, it will ultimately be up to the trial judge Mrs Justice Yip to decide if hatred of transgender people played any part in her death.

Sasha Misra, associate director of communications at the charity Stonewall, told Yahoo News UK: "Brianna's senseless, violent death has sent shockwaves through the trans community, many of whom will recognise from their own experience the dehumanising language used towards her by the perpetrators. Our thoughts are with Brianna and her loved ones, who supported her in living as her authentic self".

Watch: Candlelit vigils held for trans teen Brianna Ghey