Two teenagers sentenced following the murder of Brianna Ghey
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Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe appeared at Manchester Crown Court today, Friday 2 February.
Scarlett Jenkinson was sentenced to a minimum term of 22 years imprisonment.
Eddie Ratcliffe was sentenced to a minimum term of 20 years imprisonment.
The 16-year-olds had previously been found guilty of murder following an 18-day trial at Manchester Crown Court, which concluded on Wednesday 20 December 2023.
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 Jenkinson 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 Ratcliffe 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.
Jenkinson and Ratcliffe 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. Jenkinson and Ratcliffe 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 Jenkinson's bedroom.
A hunting knife, believed to be the murder weapon, was also recovered from Ratcliffe'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, Jenkinson claimed in her messages to Ratcliffe 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 Jenkinson realised Brianna had recovered, she messaged Ratcliffe asking for alternative ways to kill Brianna.
This was initially disputed by Jenkinson's defence during the trial who claimed this was part of a fantasy that her and Ratcliffe 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 Jenkinson and Ratcliffe pleaded not guilty to Brianna’s murder despite the mountain of evidence gathered against them throughout the investigation.
On Wednesday 20 December 2023, a jury found them guilty of murder following a trial spanning almost four weeks.
Today, Jenkinson and Ratcliffe have been sentenced to serve minimum terms of 22 years and 20 years in prison respectively.
Following the sentencing, DI Nige Parr said: “This has been a challenging and complex investigation from the very beginning and while I am pleased that the two responsible for Brianna’s brutal and senseless murder have been handed significant sentences, there is no escaping the tragedy in this case.
“Thankfully, Brianna’s family will finally see those responsible for her murder being punished for their part in this shocking crime.
“Jenkinson and Ratcliffe have shown absolutely no remorse for the pain they have caused, refusing to admit responsibility for their actions and selfishly subjected Brianna’s family, and their own families, to the ordeal of a trial.
“I would like to express my sincere condolences to Brianna’s family. They have shown an immense amount of courage and dignity throughout the investigation and the trial, and this has been an incredibly difficult experience for them. I hope that they can now in some way start to rebuild their lives after going through so much pain and grief.”