The two teenagers responsible for the murder of Brianna Ghey have been sentenced for life for the murder of the trans teen.
Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe, both 16, were sentenced on Friday (2 February) after being found guilty of murder in December. Reporting restrictions on the teenagers’ names have been lifted meaning they can now be identified publicly for the first time.
A judge, Mrs Justice Yip, ruled in December that due to “a strong public interest” in the case the two teens, who were both 15 when they carried out a “frenzied” attack on Ghey last February, would have their names made public upon sentencing. Previously Jenkinson and Ratcliffe had been known as ‘Girl X’ and ‘Boy Y’.
As per the BBC, the defendants’ legal teams have opposed the names being revealed citing welfare concerns and death threats received by Jenkinson’s family.
“Sadistic in nature”
Before handing down the sentence, Justice Yip said it was not “straightforward” and that the defendants’ anti-trans hostility and “interest in sadistic activity” would factor into the sentence. Ratcliffe’s lawyers argued that Ghey’s trans identity was “immaterial” and that Ratcliffe was assisting Jenkinson.
Addressing the defendants, Justice Yip warned both that they may “never be released” if they are seen as a danger. She said she was satisfied both defendants had played a part in the murder, acknowledging that Jenkinson was “the driving force.” Justice Yip also said she was satisfied Ratcliffe could hold anti-trans views on his own.
The judge said both took part in a “brutal” murder that was “sadistic in nature.” Taking in the aggravating and mitigating factors for both Justice Yip gave Jenkinson a life sentence with a minimum of 22 years minus the 352 days she has already been in remand. Ratcliffe was given a life sentence with a minimum of 20 years minus his 352 days in remand. He was told that the parole board would decide how many years he would serve before being eligible for parole.
Reacting to the sentencing, Nicola Wyn Williams, from CPS Merseyside and Cheshire’s complex case unit said she hoped there could be some closure for Ghey’s family. “Our thoughts and sympathies remain with them at this difficult time,” she added.
“No amount of time in prison will be enough for these monsters” – Peter Spooner, the father of Brianna Ghey
During Friday’s sentencing hearing, the court heard how Jenkinson had told a psychiatrist that when she had stabbed Ghey she was “satisfied and excited by what she was doing.” As per the BBC, Jenkinson also told her psychiatrist that Ratcliffe didn’t like Ghey because she was trans. Jenkinson has denied being transphobic. However, Jenkinson said she killed Ghey because they were friends and she didn’t want to be separated. It was also revealed that Jenkinson had tried to poison Ghey sometime before the murder.
Speaking in court Ghey’s father, Peter Spooner, said “It’s impossible to put into words the murder of my child.” He celebrated his child for being brave enough to transition who was “deprived of the life she wanted to live.” He added, “No amount of time in prison will be enough for these monsters.”
Ghey’s mum, Esther, said via a victim impact statement read out in court, “I’ve never felt such grief and I would never wish it on anyone else.” Esther also said, “I believe that Scarlett and Eddie will always pose a danger to society. I would never want them to have the opportunity to carry out their sadistic fantasies on another child. They have also ruined their own lives.”
“I have lost all sympathy that I may have previously had for them” – Esther, the mum of Brianna Ghey
Ghey was stabbed 28 times during the attack in Warrington’s Culcheth Linear Park on 11 February 2023. A couple walking their dog at the time caused the two teens to flee. They were later captured on CCTV walking home calmly.
During a trial at Manchester Crown Court, the jury heard how Jenkinson was obsessed with serial killers and torture videos. The Jury was also told that the two teens exchanged numerous WhatsApp messages regarding Ghey and their plan to kill her, referring to her as “prey.” Handwritten notes of how they planned to kill Ghey were found in one of the teens’ bedrooms and were shown in court.
Both attackers also blamed each other for the murder. Jenkinson claimed she was not involved, while Ratcliffe said he was relieving himself against a tree when the stabbing occurred. However, Brianna’s blood was discovered on the boy’s clothes and a knife was found in his bedroom.
It took a jury less than five hours to find the two teens guilty of murder. After the verdict, Ghey’s mum, Esther, said: “I have lost all sympathy that I may have previously had for them. And I am glad that they will spend many years in prison and away from society.”
Ghey’s murder sent shockwaves throughout the LGBTQ+ community and beyond. Vigils were held across the country in her memory. Her murder also prompted discussions on mental health. Following Ghey’s death Esther Ghey launched the Peace In Mind campaign aimed at improving mental health well-being in schools.
As of Friday (2 February) the GoFundMe set up in Ghey’s memory has exceeded its £50,000 target. You can donate here.