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‘Obsessed by violence and binging on gore’: Brianna Ghey’s killers to be named in court
21 December 2023, 17:21
The two schoolchildren who brutally murdered transgender teenager, Brianna Ghey, have been told they will have their identities revealed to the public ahead of their sentencing in February.
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‘Girl X’ and ‘Boy Y’ plotted to kill 16-year-old Brianna, before luring her to Culcheth Linear Park near Warrington and stabbing her 28 times in February.
The pair were just 15 at the time, but the jury heard how they exchanged hundreds of messages talking about violence, murder and gore. Girl X openly admitted in court how she had a fascination with serial killers and had trawled the dark web for violent material.
Iain Stainton is a lecturer in Criminology at the University of Cumbria and has told LBC it is hard to say that was a factor in why she did what she did. He said: "There will always be extreme people who will be drawn towards violence. That, unfortunately, is a fact of life, and every time it happens it's always a tragedy, but when we look at the causation factors there will be many, not just one simple one.
"We try to analyse things, it's a chicken and egg situation. Have we got people who are unduly influenced by what their exposing themselves to, or do we have people who are seeking material that confirms their violence or regressive mindset. Studies show there are some contributing factors, and while it may contribute to the overall aggression or violence, it's not necessarily the cause. That probably comes from a wider range of influences, maybe social or family, a whole host of things. But, it comes back to are people with the potential to be violent seeking out violent material, or is violent material overly influencing them.
"There has to be a balance, and if you expose two people to the same footage they're probably going to have two very different responses, dependent on their backgrounds and lived experience.
"If we look back, one of the things I'd like is to not shelter people from distasteful or challenging material. Certainly, in the digital arena where we have access to more material than we've ever had before, to differentiate from what is plausible and credible, what is supportive for them, and what is less supportive, and to make those assessments.
"I'm always very wary of viewing digital material as being the causation of any factors. It's a vehicle for delivering things like radicalisation or a vehicle criminals use to suit their offending, but it's not necessarily the cause - these things existed prior to the Internet.
"There will always be a limited group of people who are unduly influenced, but I don't think we can apply that to the wider society.
"Have we got aggressive violent people who are being influenced by violent material? Probably yes. It's probably removing barriers to their behaviours because they feel they can justify it and refer it back to what they're seeing. Is it actually overly-influencing people that wouldn't have had those traits in the first place? It's doubtful."
Mrs Justice Yip lifted the banning order on identifying Brianna’s killers, but imposed a stay on the order until the defendants are sentenced on February 2 next year.
Both face a mandatory life sentence for murder.
Mrs Justice Yip ruled: "There is a strong public interest in the full and unrestricted reporting of what is plainly an exceptional case."
She added: "The public will naturally wish to know the identities of the young people responsible as they seek to understand how children could do something so dreadful.
"Continuing restrictions inhibits full and informed debate and restricts the full reporting of the case."