Teens Sentenced to Life for Brianna Ghey Murder

The pair, now both 16, had plotted February 2023 slaying of transgender girl for weeks
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2023 10:45 AM CST
Updated Feb 3, 2024 7:00 AM CST
Teen Stabbed 28 Times Was Killed by a Friend
This undated family handout file photo issued by Cheshire Police shows Brianna Ghey.   (Cheshire Police Department via AP)
UPDATE Feb 3, 2024 7:00 AM CST

The two teens convicted in the killing of Brianna Ghey have found out their fate. The AP reports the pair, now IDed as Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe, both 16, received life sentences on Friday, with Jenkinson not eligible for parole till she's served at least 22 years, while Ratcliffe has a 20-year minimum. The BBC notes that the two "could be seen staring ahead towards the judge and showed no visible reaction as they were sentenced." If the teens had been 18 at the time of the murder (they were 15), they would've faced much longer minimums, per the AP. They'll be transferred to adult prisons when they turn 18. "We were forming a new relationship and these two murderers have stolen that from us," Peter Spooner, Ghey's father, said in a court statement. "Justice may have been done with the guilty verdicts, but no amount of time spent in prison will be enough for these monsters."

Dec 21, 2023 10:45 AM CST

Two teenagers told UK police they'd met a friend at a bus stop before walking together to a park, where Brianna Ghey left them. But thousands of text messages tell a different story, one marked by what police describe as a "thirst for killing," per the BBC. For weeks, the pair had planned a murder. The boy and girl, both 15, spoke of various methods—stabbing, hanging, drug overdose—and numerous possible victims. Finally, the plan was set. A week before 16-year-old Brianna was found with 28 stab wounds in Warrington's Culcheth Linear Park, the girl, dubbed "X," sent a photo to the boy, dubbed "Y," showing a neat, handwritten outline for Feb. 11. "Wait until Brianna gets off bus then the 3 of us walk to linear park. Go to the pipe/tunnel area. I say code word to [Y]. He stabs her in the back as I stab her in the stomach," it read, per the Guardian.

"The pair carried out the plan almost to the letter," the paper notes, though they were interrupted before they could drag Brianna's body from a path as they'd planned. A couple spotted them running away from Brianna, lying face down in a pool of blood. They were arrested the following day. It's unclear who wielded the hunting knife used in the killing, as each teen blamed the other. What is clear from text messages is that the teens had plotted together for weeks. X had suggested killing Brianna, her transgender friend, after the pair failed to lure another potential victim. In January, X told Y that she'd given Brianna what should've been a lethal dose of ibuprofen, "but she didn't die." Around that time, Brianna became very ill and vomited, her mother said.

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"Let's just stab her. It's more fun," X then told Y, per the Guardian. She'd previously told him, "I have a really sharp blade, the same one that Sweeney Todd uses." Yet it was Y who purchased the hunting knife and had Brianna's blood on his clothing. None was found on X. Prosecutors suggested she'd trained Y to be her "assassin." "This was a senseless murder committed by two teenagers who have an obsession with murder," said Nige Parr, a senior investigating officer with the Cheshire police, per the AP. "Brianna trusted the female defendant, she was betrayed by someone she called her friend." Jurors deliberated for less than five hours Wednesday before convicting both teens, now 16, of murder following a three-week trial. X, who has traits of autism and ADHD, and Y, who is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, will be sentenced in January. (More murder stories.)

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