'Warped' teenagers with 'thirst for killing' who murdered trans schoolgirl Brianna Ghey unmasked

2 February 2024, 10:40 | Updated: 2 February 2024, 12:17

The boy and girl who killed transgender teenager Brianna Ghey
The boy and girl who killed transgender teenager Brianna Ghey. Picture: Cheshire Constabulary

By Emma Soteriou

The "warped" killers of 16-year-old transgender teen Brianna Ghey have been named and pictured.

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The girl and boy were named as Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe in court after restrictions were lifted.

The killers, both 15 at the time, had been found guilty of the "disturbing" plan to murder Brianna, 16, in a "frenzied and ferocious" knife attack.

Brianna was stabbed 28 times in the head, neck, chest and back after being lured to Linear Park, Culcheth, a village near Warrington, Cheshire, on the afternoon of February 11 last year.

Jenkinson, Brianna's school friend, was identified only as girl X during their trial last December at Manchester Crown Court.

Ratcliffe, from Leigh, had been identified only as boy Y.

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

Read more: 'Thirsty for murder': 'Warped children' found guilty of murdering trans teenager Brianna Ghey

Brianna Ghey
Brianna Ghey. Picture: Cheshire Police

Each defendant had denied murder and blamed the other for the killing, which was described as "horrific" by detectives.

Jenkinson claimed while she enjoyed fantasies of killing Brianna she never intended any of it to become reality while Ratcliffe said he played along or treated it all as a joke and never wanted to harm anyone.

Ratcliffe, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and who is non-verbal, and Jenkinson, diagnosed with traits of autism and ADHD, both face a mandatory life sentence when Mrs Justice Yip sentences them later on Friday.

Intelligent, "high functioning" and coming from normal backgrounds, the trial heard the pair had a fascination with violence, torture and murder and a "thirst for killing".

Neither had been in trouble with police before.

The pair discussed the murder for weeks, with detectives uncovering Jenkinson's handwritten murder plan and phone messages.

Jurors were told it was "difficult to fathom" how the two child defendants could carry out such a disturbing crime.

Footage shows movements of Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Radcliffe on day of Brianna Ghey murder

Jenkinson, while aged 14, downloaded a TOR internet browser app, to watch videos of the torture and murder of real people, in "red rooms" on the "dark web".

She developed an interest in serial killers, making notes on their methods, and admitted enjoying "dark fantasies" about killing and torture, the pair living in a secret world of warped interests in murder and cruelty, their trial heard.

They drew up a "kill list" of four others they intended to harm, until Brianna had the "misfortune" to be befriended by Jenkinson, who she quickly became "obsessed" with.

Jenkinson told Ratcliffe she wanted to stab Brianna "jus coz its fun lol... I want to see the pure horror on her face and hear her scream".

She lured Brianna to the park on a Saturday afternoon, believing she was going to "hang out" with friends.

Both Jenkinson and Ratcliffe had been seen by witnesses with Brianna and were caught on CCTV and doorbell footage.

They were quickly traced and arrested within an hour.

Detectives found the murder weapon with Brianna's blood on the blade in Ratcliffe's bedroom, along with heavily blood-stained clothing and trainers.

Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe seen being arrested and interviewed over murder of Brianna Ghey

Deanna Heer KC, prosecuting, told Manchester Crown Court that Jenkinson had been seen by a psychiatrist after she was convicted of murder in December and made "admissions".

"She said effectively, she said that at the time of the killing she had in fact administered stab wounds herself," Ms Heer said.

"She had snatched the knife from Eddie's hand and stabbed Brianna repeatedly.

"She said Eddie had thrown Brianna to the floor and stabbed her three or four times then he panicked and said he did not want to kill her, so she carried on and stabbed her a number of times.

"When asked how many, she answered, 'A lot.' She was satisfied and excited by what she was doing."

Scarlett Jenkinson
Scarlett Jenkinson. Picture: Cheshire Constabulary
Eddie Ratcliffe
Eddie Ratcliffe. Picture: Cheshire Constabulary

Detective Chief Superintendent Mike Evans, head of crime at Cheshire Police, said: "There's not many murders where you get from planning to execution almost documented, word for word."

Detectives believe Brianna was killed because she was vulnerable and accessible, with her death not a hate crime but done for "enjoyment" and a "thirst for killing".

Brianna had been a shy and anxious teenager who struggled with depression and rarely left her home.

Jenkinson’s murder plan
Jenkinson’s murder plan. Picture: Cheshire Constabulary

Reading a statement to the court, her father, Peter Spooner, said being the father of a trans child had been "a difficult thing to deal with" but he had been "proud to gain another beautiful daughter".

"We were forming a new relationship and these two murderers have stolen that from us both," he said.

"I hate how Brianna's life has been brutally taken away from her and she has been deprived of the life she wanted to live. She never had the chance to sit her exams or go on to further education.

"Now my world has been torn apart, justice may have been done with the guilty verdicts, but no amount of time spent in prison will be enough for these monsters.

"I cannot call them children as that makes them sound naive or vulnerable which they are not, they are pure evil, Brianna was the vulnerable one."

Jenkinson developed an interest in serial killers, making notes on their methods.
Jenkinson developed an interest in serial killers, making notes on their methods. Picture: Cheshire Constabulary

Brianna's mother Esther Ghey, had her statement read out by Ms Heer.

She said the "hardest thing" to come to terms with was finding out that one of those charged with Brianna's murder was someone she believed to be her daughter's friend.

She said she had been "pleased" when Brianna sent a text message on February 11 to say she was going to meet a friend and "thought that she would have a wonderful time, hanging around with her friend and getting some fresh air. When all that time she was being lured to her death".

"All I can think about is that she would have been scared and I wasn't there for her. She needed me to protect her, Brianna wasn't a fighter and she must have been so terrified," she added.

She said she believed Jenkinson and Ratcliffe continued to be a danger to society.

"I don't believe that someone who is so disturbed and obsessed with murder and torture would ever be able to be rehabilitated," she said.

"I have moments where I feel sorry for them, because they have also ruined their own lives, but I have to remember that they felt no empathy for Brianna when they left her bleeding to death after their premeditated and vicious attack, which was carried out not because Brianna had done anything wrong, but just because one hated trans people and the other thought it would be fun."