Two 16-year-olds have been found guilty of the “senseless” murder of transgender girl Brianna Ghey, who was stabbed 28 times in a park in Cheshire, England earlier this year.
Known as Girl X and Boy Y to protect their identities, the “murder obsessed teens” were found guilty unanimously by a jury at Manchester crown court on Wednesday.
The judge, Justice Yip, said she would sentence the pair next month, and would decide whether to lift reporting restrictions so that the killers could be named.
She told the teenagers that she would have to impose a life sentence but that she needed to adjourn for further reports to decide on the minimum term.
Girl X, who was fascinated by serial killers and boasted of watching torture videos on the dark web, said she was “obsessed” with Brianna. She and Brianna had been friends for a few months before she began plotting to kill her.
Nigel Parr, senior investigating officer for Cheshire police, said Brianna had been betrayed by two teenagers whose only motivation was to experience how it felt to kill.
“This was a senseless murder committed by two teenagers who have an obsession with murder,” he said.
The defendants exchanged thousands of WhatsApp messages in the lead up to the murder.
The boy referred to Brianna as “prey” and “it” in his messages, saying she would be easier to kill “and I want to see if it will scream like a man or a girl”.
Earlier this year, Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, told the Guardian that while her daughter had anxiety and mental health problems, she was “very outgoing and very confident” and dreamed of becoming “TikTok-famous”.
The court heard she did not go out alone often, and texted her mother on the way to meet her killers, saying she was “scared” because there were lots of people on the bus.
But she had a large following online, where her dance routines and skits drew friends from around the world. After the verdicts, Esther described her daughter as “larger than life” and “funny, witty and fearless”.
Brianna came out as trans when she was 14. Her mother said she supported the transition: “It didn’t bother me. It was just something that Brianna wanted to do and I was happy. As long as she was happy then that’s all that mattered.”
After the verdicts, the Crown Prosecution Service said: “This has been one of the most distressing cases the Crown Prosecution Service has had to deal with. 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 what may have started out as dark fantasies about murder into a reality.”
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