Two teenagers who plotted together to commit a murder have been convicted of killing a 16-year-old girl in a park in Cheshire.
The boy and girl, who can’t be named because of their age and were referred to in court as Girl X and Boy Y, spent months plotting to kill someone and had a list of several potential victims that they knew.
The killers, who were 15 at the time, eventually focused on 16-year-old Brianna Ghey, whom Girl X had befriended. Brianna agreed to meet the two in Culceth, near Warrington on the day of the murder, February 11, 2023, after being invited by Girl X.
They met at a bus stop and walked to a lonely spot in nearby Linear Park. Brianna was then stabbed 28 times, with a hunting knife that the boy had brought to the scene, in a ferocious attack.
The killers had planned to hide the body and cover their tracks, but they were spotted by a couple walking their dogs who became suspicious and approached them. The two ran from the scene but the couple spotted the body and rang the police.
The dog walker’s emotional 999 call was played to the jury in the four-week trial at Manchester Crown Court.
Girl X and Boy Y had shared hundreds of WhatsApp messages in the run-up to the murder, sharing fantasies about murder and torture. Girl X admitted that she enjoyed watching videos about serial killers, murder and torture.
A note was found in Girl X’s bedroom by police officers after the killing, detailing how the two would kill Brianna and then cover their tracks. This was shown to the jury. The method used by the two in the murder followed the plan in the note.
Girl X’s mother later rang the police when she heard the news about Brianna’s death, as she knew her daughter had been with her that day. That was also played to the jury. But her daughter lied to her and the police about what had happened and said Brianna had left to meet a boy from Manchester, alive and well.
Girl X and Boy Y were arrested soon after the killing, following information from the public, many of whom had seen the teenagers on the day. They were questioned and jointly charged with murder. They blamed each other for the death and refused to take responsibility, but following a successful prosecution by the CPS a jury convicted them both of murder on 20 December 2023 at Manchester Crown Court. They will be sentenced after Christmas.
Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Ursula Doyle of CPS Mersey Cheshire, said:
“This has been one of the most distressing cases I have ever dealt 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 their dark fantasies about murder into a reality.
“The extensive messages between the two, planning and plotting to kill people, talking of murder, torture and cruelty, were difficult to read.
“The messages provided a terrifying insight into the minds of the two defendants – but also revealed the detailed planning of their attack and subsequent attempts to cover it up.
“The case posed a unique set of challenges for prosecutors, not least of the defendants’ young age and their additional vulnerabilities. To ensure a fair trial and deliver a sound conviction, the CPS worked with all parties – including the police, courts and defence team – to make sure facilities such as video links, a transcribing service and communications specialists were in place.”
“I want to thank Brianna’s family for the courage and dignity that they have shown throughout this case. I hope today’s verdict brings some solace, and our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.”