Brianna Ghey stabbing may have been anti-trans hate crime, police say
The murder of a 16-year-old girl in a Cheshire park may have been an anti-trans hate crime, police have said.
Brianna Ghey was stabbed to death in Culcheth Linear Park near Warrington on Saturday. A 15-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy are currently being held on suspicion of murder.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mike Evans, of Cheshire Constabulary, had initially described the stabbing as a "targeted attack" and said they did not believe she was killed because she was transgender.
However, in a statement on Tuesday afternoon, the force said they are exploring all lines of enquiry "including whether this was a hate crime".
When asked if the force had classified the attack as a possible hate crime because the schoolgirl was transgender, a spokesman said they are "not ruling anything out" and are "pursuing all lines of enquiries".
Detectives are continuing to trace the weapon used in the attack. In a statement, the force said: "All lines of enquiry are being explored, including whether this was a hate crime."
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.
Detectives investigating her alleged murder were granted an extension of 30 hours on Tuesday to further question the two suspects.
Trans-rights activists have criticised the current decision by the Home Office to classify Brianna as a boy on her death certificate.
As she was under 18, Brianna would have been unable to acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate or legally change her gender.
The Trans Safety Network, a charity which campaigns for greater protection of transgender people, said in a statement: “Brianna Ghey’s death was a tragedy and we are saddened it is necessary to discuss her death certificate at all.
“Trans people deserve dignity and respect in life and death. This includes the guarantee that their death certificate does not disregard their identity.
“It is disappointing that the UK government continues to fail trans people, including Brianna."
Robbie De Santos, director of communications and external affairs at Stonewall, said: “Trans people deserve dignity in life and in death.
"Gender Recognition Certificates do not affect access to spaces but instead allow trans people to be laid to rest in the gender that they and their loved ones knew them to be. Respect and dignity are things we should want for all people."
School children and local residents left dozens of bouquets of flowers at the park's entrance on Tuesday. Officers with sniffer dogs were seen patrolling the park which remained cordoned off to the public.
One mother laying flowers at the park's entrance said her daughter was "in shock" over the stabbing. She said: "She [Brianna] was a trans girl - it's each to their own, they should be free to be who they want to be.
The woman, who asked not to be named, added: "This has shocked my daughter. It is really hard to comprehend for adults, let alone for children, especially when she knows who's involved."
Three women dressed in black also laid a bouquet of red flowers with a card addressed from Brianna's school, Birchwood Community High.
An inscription on the card with the flowers read: "You were strong and passionate, we will miss you."
Candle-lit vigils across the UK are being held for Brianna on Tuesday evening and in the coming days. Organisers are hosting the tributes in Liverpool and Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow and Leeds. Additional events are planned in Aberdeen, Reading, Plymouth, Brighton, Belfast, London and York.
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", passed £70,000 since it was set up on Monday.