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What happened to Brianna Ghey’s killers?

A boy and a girl have been found guilty by a jury of the “disturbing” murder of teenager Brianna Ghey, who died in a “frenzied and ferocious” knife attack.

Who was Brianna Ghey?

Brianna Ghey was a 16-year-old transgender girl and a Year 11 pupil at Birchwood Community High School.

Her family described her as “a larger-than-life character who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her”.

According to her friends, Brianna Ghey would often help younger trans girls safely and legally access hormone replacement therapy.

They also said she had faced years of transphobic harassment and bullying before she was killed, including at school, a part of which was being repeatedly “gang beaten”.

Birchwood’s headteacher said that “I spoke again to Brianna’s mum who confirmed that Brianna was not bullied at Birchwood and always felt well supported by the school and she gave me permission to share this with you all”.

In addition to being a student, Brianna Ghey was also a TikToker under the username @gingerpuppyx, with her number of followers variously reported as 63,000.

On TikTok, she was known for miming and dancing to popular songs. One of her final TikToks said that she was “excluded from school”. After her death, her TikTok account was deleted.

Brianna Ghey
Brianna Ghey

Brianna Ghey Murder?

On the afternoon of 11 February 2023, Brianna Ghey was found with 28 stab wounds on a path in Culcheth Linear Park by members of the public.

Emergency services were called at 3:13 p.m. and she was pronounced dead at the scene. A Home Office postmortem was ordered to determine the cause of death.

On 15 February 2023, prosecutor Leanne Gallagher said the attack on Ghey was “extremely brutal and punishing”.

A post-mortem examination found that Ghey had been stabbed 28 times, across her head, neck, chest, and back.

Two 15-year-old suspects, a boy from Leigh and a girl from Warrington, were arrested by Cheshire Police on 12 February 2023.

Police described the killing as a “targeted attack”. They initially said there was no evidence the killing was “hate related”, and on 14 February, the police said all motives were being researched, including whether the attack had been a hate crime.

Brianna Ghey

What happened to Brianna Ghey’s killers?

On 15 February, the suspects were charged with murder, refused bail and placed in youth detention. The next day, the suspects appeared, via video link, in a brief hearing at Liverpool Crown Court.

At this hearing, Judge David Aubrey remanded them in youth detention accommodation until a pre-trial preparation hearing on 2 May 2023, in which they were to enter their pleas.

However, the accused were not required to enter a plea, and were remanded until a further hearing on 11 May.

In a pre-trial hearing on 20 July 2023, one of the suspects entered a plea of not guilty. A further pre-trial hearing took place on 4 October 2023, during which the other suspect pleaded not guilty.


The trial commenced at Manchester Crown Court on 27 November 2023. Due to the nature of the case, and the ages of those involved, reporting restrictions were put in place preventing the naming of both of the defendants, as well as any other children mentioned during the trial.

During the trial, the accused girl was referred to as X, and the accused boy as Y. Both defendants were given the option of participating in the proceedings by either physically attending the court, or remotely via video link from their secure accommodation. The case was heard by Mrs Justice Amanda Yip.


While in custody, X was found to have traits of autism and ADHD; Y was diagnosed as autistic and has selective mutism, resulting in him not being able to speak to anyone except his mother.

Reasonable accommodations were made for both of the accused during the trial. Because of his selective mutism, Y was allowed to communicate with court by writing.

Both perpetrators were given the option to participate in proceedings via a video link, rather than in person. The jury were also told that both X and Y could react or speak differently in the proceedings due to their diagnoses.

Brianna Ghey
Brianna Ghey

Prosecution case

The prosecution was lead by Deanna Heer KC, with Cheryl Mottram acting as junior. The prosecution case opened in the afternoon of 27 November 2023, and concluded on 8 December 2023.

Defence case

Both X and Y made separate defence cases. Richard Pratt KC lead the defence case for X, with Sarah Holt acting as junior. Richard Littler KC lead the defence case for Y, with Steven Swift acting as junior.


The trial lasted three weeks, concluding on 20 December 2023, with both defendants being found guilty of the murder of Ghey.

Jury deliberations lasted for 4 hours and 40 minutes. Mrs Justice Yip indicated that life sentences would be given, with a sentencing hearing due to take place in 2024 to determine the minimum term.

An application by the media to publish the names of the defendants is expected to be dealt with on 21 December 2023.

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Simon Kabutey
Simon Kabutey
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