'My daughter's murder will haunt me forever': Brianna Ghey's mum pays heartbreaking tribute to 'fearless' trans teenager

20 December 2023, 23:40 | Updated: 21 December 2023, 00:51

Esther Ghey said her daughter's murder will haunt her forever
Esther Ghey said her daughter's murder will haunt her forever. Picture: Handout/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The mother of Brianna Ghey said her daughter's murder will "haunt me forever" after the teenager's killers were found guilty of murder.

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Paying tribute to Brianna after two teenagers were found guilty of murdering her daughter, Ms Ghey said she was "larger than life...funny, witty and fearless".

"We miss Brianna so much and our house feels empty without her laughter," she said outside of Manchester Crown Court.

"To now know how scared my usually fearless child must have been when she was alone in the park with someone that she called her friend will haunt me forever," she added.

The grieving mother also called for the public to show "empathy and compassion" for the families of the two killers, saying they had "too lost a child".

"[They] must live the rest of their lives knowing what their child has done."

Brianna Ghey
Brianna Ghey. Picture: Handout

Ms Ghey said she had felt some sympathy for her daughters' killers before seeing their "true nature" during the trial.

The killers do not "display an ounce of remorse for what they have done to Brianna".

The grieving mother said she was now "glad they will spend many years in prison away from society".

Read more: Heartbreaking moment Brianna Ghey left home for last time as texts 'show teenagers plot murder'

Read more: Trans girl Brianna Ghey, 16, ‘stabbed to death 28 times in planned attack by two teens’

Brianna had been subjected to a frenzied knife attack while out walking in Culcheth Linear Park near Warrington on February 11.

The boy and girl, who were both 15 at the time, had been meticulously plotting what they were going to do, fantasising about stabbing Brianna, and had even compiled a 'kill list' with other young people on it.

Esther Ghey speaking after two teens were found guilty of her daughter's murder
Esther Ghey speaking after two teens were found guilty of her daughter's murder. Picture: Alamy

Having set off on the bus to meet her killers in Culcheth Village, she sent a text to her mum saying she felt afraid.

Having met the pair, referred to in court as 'Boy Y and Girl X', they walked down a network of narrow alleyways, through a housing estate and into Culcheth Linear Park, eventually arriving at a bench.

This is where Brianna's body was found by a member of the public who had seen her killers running away across a field.

Having left Brianna's lifeless body on the ground, Boy Y and Girl X dumped her phone in a grid and returned to their homes where they pretended to act normally, asking each other how their cats were.

This was all part of their plan to evade capture, a plan Girl X had written down on a piece of paper that was found in her home after her arrest.

The murder weapon
The murder weapon. Picture: Crown Prosecution Service

Boy Y was found with a bloodied knife in his bedroom, and messages, deleted from their phones, were able to be recovered by police.

Brianna Ghey
Brianna Ghey. Picture: Handout

The evidence against the pair was overwhelming, with both accepting they had lured Brianna to the park and had been there during the attack, but claimed it was the other one who did the stabbing while they had their back turned.

DCI Mike Evans from Cheshire Police told LBC: "This is a horrific attack carried out by young people against another young person.

"You can see from their conversations how articulate and intelligent they are, and even giving their evidence they've done it intelligently. But ultimately we know they were responsible for this horrific attack.

"When we arrested them initially and they were being interviewed, they were both quite confident. I think they had a plan in their head that they were going to stick to and thought that would be enough to get them out of trouble.

"We still don't know why they did it other than they have a real thirst for murder. Brianna had never done anything to either of them. They are essentially two warped individuals who have lived out what they would describe as a fantasy."

Brianna Ghey's mother (left) arriving in court in November
Brianna Ghey's mother (left) arriving in court in November. Picture: Alamy

Ursula Doyle, the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor at the CPS, told LBC: "It's been one of the most disturbing cases we've ever dealt with.

"It was an attack that was carried out on a Saturday afternoon in daylight in a public park. The circumstances, the planning and the way it was carried out is frankly beyond belief.

"Brianna Ghey was subjected to a frenzied and ferocious attack. Girl X and Boy Y appear to have been a deadly influence on each other and turned what may have started out as dark fantasies about murder into a reality. They exchanged hundreds of messages and the content of some of the messages are deeply disturbing. It's apparent from the messages that they normalised the fantasies they were expressing in the messages.

"The pages and pages of WhatsApp 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 warped fantasies of the two defendants, but also provided us with the detailed planning of the attack and the plan to cover it up. They were both equally responsible, but tried to blame each other."

Activists and members of the LGBT community held a vigil
Activists and members of the LGBT community held a vigil for Brianna . Picture: Getty

Brianna's Headteacher at Birchwood Community High School, Emma Mills, told LBC: "She was a really big character, Brianna. She'd say things that were so funny and you knew it wasn't appropriate to laugh, but her sense of humour really shone through.

"She had a very strong sense of who she was as a person. She displayed that through her clothes, her make-up, her hair... she was almost a bit of an icon around school.

"She always said she wanted to be famous, and TikTok was a great platform for her. She suffered with social anxiety and actually the online world enabled her to do that.

"I don't think I could ever put into words how much this has affected everyone. As adults we found it so hard to comprehend this had happened, and for the children even more so.

"Brianna shone very brightly, she had a sparkle about her. We'll remember her for that sense of knowing who she was and being completely unapologetic for that."

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