Two teenagers found guilty of murdering Brianna Ghey
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Two teenagers have been convicted of the murder of Brianna Ghey.
Following a 18-day trial at Manchester Crown Court, a 16-year-old boy from Leigh and a 16-year-old girl from Warrington have today, Wednesday 20 December, been found guilty of murder.
The teens, who were 15 at the time of the offence and cannot be named for legal reasons, were remanded into custody and are due to be sentenced in the new year.
Detectives from the Force's Major Investigation Team spent months piecing together the case, gathering vital evidence, speaking to numerous witnesses, viewing hours of CCTV footage, and carrying out forensic enquiries.
The victim, 16-year-old Brianna Ghey, died on Saturday 11 February following a horrifying attack in Culcheth Linear Park, Warrington.
The court heard how the girl had developed a friendship with Brianna prior to the attack – and had spent a significant amount of time trying to convince Brianna to meet up with her and the boy in Culcheth that day.
At 1.53pm, they met Brianna at the bus stop on Warrington Road and made their way towards Culcheth Linear Park.
Unbeknown to Brianna, this was all a part of their carefully constructed plan to kill her.
They led Brianna deep into the park before brutally murdering her.
However, their frenzy was cut short when they were disturbed by two dog walkers who suspected something suspicious, and they quickly fled the scene together.
Brianna’s lifeless body was discovered by the dog walkers, who immediately reported the incident to police at 3.13pm.
Officers arrived at the scene just 12 minutes later and established that Brianna had suffered multiple stab wounds.
Emergency services attempted CPR on her body, but Brianna was sadly pronounced dead by paramedics at 4.02pm.
The court heard that Brianna had been stabbed 28 times - mainly to her neck, chest, and back.
A murder investigation was launched, and the two teens were quickly identified as suspects after a number of eye witnesses came forward following a large media appeal. The pair were arrested 24 hours after the incident and were subsequently charged with Brianna’s murder.
Searches were conducted at the defendants’ home addresses and their mobile phones were seized by detectives for telecoms analysis.
At this point of the investigation, it became apparent that the defendants had an unhealthy fascination with murder and torture.
A hand-written note detailing their plan to kill Brianna was found during a search of the girl’s bedroom.
A hunting knife, believed to be the murder weapon, was also recovered from the boy’s bedroom, and found to contain traces of Brianna’s blood.
Thousands of deleted text messages, exchanged between the two defendants, were restored from their mobile phones.
This evidence proved that the pair had discussed their sadistic fantasies for months prior to the attack and had thought of multiple ways in which they could kill a number of children, including Brianna.
The messages also demonstrated that there had been previous attempts on Brianna’s life.
Earlier this year, the girl claimed in her messages to the boy that she had given Brianna a number of ibuprofen tablets – Brianna’s mum, Esther, confirmed that Brianna was extremely unwell at the time and had to take a day off school.
When the girl realised Brianna had recovered, she messaged the boy asking for alternative ways to kill Brianna.
This was, however, disputed by the girl’s defence during the trial who claimed this was part of a fantasy that the pair shared between them.
On Saturday 28 January, the defendants arranged to meet Brianna in Culcheth for the first time with the intention of murdering her.
Brianna cancelled due to a family commitment, but they decided to meet up anyway, as shown in their messages, to finalise the details of their plan to kill her. They set a new date – Saturday 11 February.
During their initial interviews, both defendants vehemently denied any involvement in Brianna’s death but when the messages (that they thought were irrecoverable) were put to them, they began to turn on each other.
Both pleaded not guilty to Brianna’s murder despite the mountain of evidence gathered throughout the investigation.
Today, Wednesday 20 December, a jury has found them guilty of murder following a trial spanning almost four weeks.
Detective Inspector Nige Parr of the Major Investigation Team, and Senior Investigating Officer for Operation Moment, said: “Today, two teenagers have been found guilty of Brianna’s murder. I hope this result brings about some closure for Brianna’s family and helps them as they try and re-build their lives.
“Brianna did not deserve her fate. She was targeted because she was different, and betrayed by someone she thought was a friend, and for her to have lost her life as a result of their senseless actions is tragic in every sense of the word.
“The impact of Brianna's death was not only felt deeply amongst those who knew and loved her. It's fair to say that her untimely passing has left many across the country – especially those from the LGBT community – overwhelmed with grief.
“This was an extremely complex investigation with many challenges - including the ages of those involved and the circumstances surrounding Brianna’s death – and I would like to thank all those involved for their efforts.
“Thankfully, today’s outcome shows my team’s work was not in vain, and I hope they can walk away from this case in the knowledge that they have brought about whatever justice was possible for Brianna, whose life was cruelly cut short.
“Our thoughts remain with Brianna’s family and friends as they continue to come to terms with their devastating loss.”