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16-year-old killers of U.K. transgender teenager Brianna Ghey named in court before sentencing


16-year-old killers of U.K. transgender teenager Brianna Ghey named in court before sentencing

The 16-year-old convicted killers of a transgender teenager in northwest England nearly a year ago were named in court on Friday after the judge in the case lifted a ban on reporting their identities. At Manchester Crown Court, Justice Amanda Yip lifted the restrictions on the naming of Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe as the killers of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey in a horrific murder that shocked the nation.

Britain Transgender Teen Killing
This combination photo issued by Cheshire Constabulary on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024 shows Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe. 

/ AP

Brianna was stabbed with a hunting knife 28 times in her head, neck, chest and back in broad daylight after being lured to a park in the town of Warrington on Feb. 11, 2023. Police believe she was killed because she was vulnerable and accessible, with her death not a hate crime but done for “enjoyment” and a “thirst for killing.”

Under English law, young offenders are usually granted the protection of restrictions that prevent them from being named until they turn 18. Jenkinson and Ratcliffe were previously known as Girl X and Boy Y, having been 15 at the time of the killing.

However, Yip said after they were found guilty last month that there was a “strong public interest in the full and unrestricted reporting of what is plainly an exceptional case.” Lawyers for the two argued that naming them would have ramifications for their welfare.

Jenkinson and Ratcliffe both face a mandatory life sentence. The judge was hearing victim impact statements from Brianna’s family and experts before deciding later Friday how long they will have to spend in prison before being eligible for parole.

In a statement to the court, Brianna’s father, Peter Spooner, said being the father of a transgender child — Brianna was previously known as Brett — had been “a difficult thing to deal with” but that he had been “proud to gain another beautiful daughter.”

Britain Transgender Teen Killing
Family photo of Brianna Ghey. 

Family handout / AP

“We were forming a new relationship and these two murderers have stolen that from us both,” he said. “Justice may have been done with the guilty verdicts, but no amount of time spent in prison will be enough for these monsters.”

The defendants denied killing Brianna and blamed each other for the fatal stabbing. It is not known which one or if both wielded the knife. Neither had been in trouble with police before. The two were found guilty by a jury last month following a four-week trial.

The trial heard that the defendants were intelligent and had a fascination with violence, torture and serial killers. They had planned the attack for weeks, detailed in a handwritten plan and phone messages found by detectives. They also had discussed killing others, which prompted police early in the investigation to rule out transphobia as a motive behind Brianna’s murder.

Prosecutor Deanna Heer read a statement to the court from Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, in which she said the hardest thing to come to terms with was finding out that one of those charged with Brianna’s murder, Jenkinson, was someone she thought was her daughter’s friend.

She said she was pleased when Brianna sent a text message on the day of her death saying she was going to meet a friend.

“I thought that she would have a wonderful time, hanging around with her friend and getting some fresh air. When all that time she was being lured to her death,” she said.

“All I can think about is that she would have been scared and I wasn’t there for her. She needed me to protect her, Brianna wasn’t a fighter and she must have been so terrified,” she said.

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