Teenagers who killed trans girl Brianna Ghey are sentenced to life in prison
Author: Trudy Ring
The murderers of British transgender teen girl Brianna Ghey have been sentenced to life in prison.
Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe, who were 15 at the time of the killing and are now 16, received life sentences from Justice Amanda Yip Friday in Manchester Crown Court, the BBC reports. They were convicted of murder December 20. They had pleaded not guilty, and each blamed the other for the crime, but a jury found them both responsible. Their names had not been released previously, but now the confidentiality order has been lifted.
Ghey, 16, died after being stabbed 28 times in a park in the village of Culcheth, England, February 11 of last year. Jenkinson and Ratcliffe were arrested a few days later. They committed a “brutal and planned murder which was sadistic in nature,” Yip said in sentencing them. They will be eligible for parole only if it’s determined they no longer pose a danger to society, the judge said.
Ghey’s loved ones said the killers exploited her need for companionship. “She was lonely, vulnerable, and in need of a close friend,” her stepfather, Wesley Powell, told the court, according to the BBC. “Both Eddie and Scarlett knew this and preyed upon her vulnerabilities, acting as two predators stalking their prey.”
Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, said her daughter believed Jenkinson to be a friend. Esther Ghey hadn’t met Jenkinson before Brianna’s death, but she said Brianna talked about hanging out with Jenkinson after school.
During their trial, it came out that Jenkinson and Ratcliffe had fantasized about killing a classmate, as evidenced by hundreds of private messages and handwritten documents. Jenkinson had expressed admiration for famous serial killers, including Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez, and Harold Shipman. She and Ratcliffe made a list of potential victims from among their acquaintances before settling on Ghey.
The two teens used the pretense of doing cocaine to lure Ghey to the park, where they reportedly used the code word “gay” to launch the attack on the trans teen.
Ghey was still alive when discovered by two dog walkers, but she died minutes later at the scene. An autopsy later found 28 stab wounds, primarily to her head, neck, and back, and defensive wounds to her hands and wrists. The attack was so violent it fractured Ghey’s ribs and wrist bones.
“Sadly, Brianna can’t have lost consciousness immediately, and she must have been aware she was being attacked,” Yip said during the sentencing.
Jenkinson had “a deep desire to kill,” the judge said, while Ratcliffe was motivated by bigotry against trans people. He wrote “transphobic and dehumanizing” messages, she said, and “undoubtedly displayed hostility to Brianna based on her transgender identity.”
Jenkinson masterminded the crime, Yip said, but it would be “wholly wrong to treat [Ratcliffe] as being under Scarlett’s control.”
Brianna’s family read a victim impact statement before the sentencing. Esther Ghey said Jenkinson and Ratcliffe will always “pose a danger to society,” adding, “I would never want them to have the opportunity to carry out their sadistic fantasies on another child.”
Alisha Ghey, Brianna’s sister, said she now found it difficult to trust people she’d just met because it was “Brianna’s friend who she trusted who ended her life.”
Brianna’s father, Peter Spooner, said he had some problems coming to terms with her trans identity, but eventually he was “proud to gain another beautiful daughter.”
“We were forming a new relationship and these two murderers have stolen that from us both,” he added.
Jenkinson’s and Ratcliffe’s families were at the sentencing as well, and Jenkinson’s mother could be seen weeping at the end, the BBC notes.
Her family gave a statement to the Warrington Guardian apologizing to Brianna’s loved ones and saying, “All of our thoughts are for Brianna and her family.” They thanked Esther Ghey for her “selflessness” and “empathy,” and said they found the sentence appropriate, along with the decision to identiy Jenkinson and Ratcliffe.
Pictured, above: Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe; below: Brianna Ghey
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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring