‘Warped’ teen who murdered Brianna Ghey in 'frenzied' attack to appeal sentence

7 March 2024, 12:34 | Updated: 7 March 2024, 13:34

Eddie Ratcliffe has launched an appeal over his 20 year jail term for the murder of Brianna Ghey
Eddie Ratcliffe has launched an appeal over his 20 year jail term for the murder of Brianna Ghey. Picture: Cheshire Police

By Asher McShane

One of the teenage killers of Brianna Ghey has lodged a bid to appeal his sentence.

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Eddie Ratcliffe was 15 when he and Scarlett Jenkinson lured Brianna to Linear Park in Culcheth, near Warrington, where she was stabbed 28 times in her head, neck and back with a hunting knife on 11 February last year.

He was handed a jail term of a minimum of 20 years - but has now launched an appeal.

Ratcliffe, 16, has "applied for permission to appeal", the Judicial Office said.

Any decision on granting the appeal will be taken by a senior judge.

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

Jenkinson, whose parents are teachers and lived close to the park in Culcheth, had been asked to leave her school, Culcheth High, for giving cannabis-laced sweets to another pupil, and joined Brianna's school, Birchwood High, in October 2022 and quickly became "obsessed" with her.

Along with Ratcliffe, from Leigh, whose mother is a skiing instructor and whose father ran his own businesses, they drew up a "kill list" of four other youths they wanted to harm until Brianna had the "misfortune" to be befriended by Jenkinson.

Brianna's parents said the pair should never be released from prison.

Ratcliffe's initial bid to take forward his appeal will first usually be considered by a single judge without a hearing.

If the teenager is denied the green light, he may be able to renew his efforts before a panel of three judges at a hearing.

A judicial spokesperson said: "We can confirm that an application has been received for leave to appeal sentence from Eddie Ratcliffe. There is no record of an appeal from the co-defendant Scarlett Jenkinson."

After they were jailed, Brianna's mother, Esther Ghey, said: "I don't believe that someone who is so disturbed and obsessed with murder and torture would ever be able to be rehabilitated."

Brianna's father, Peter Spooner, said: "No amount of time spent in prison will be enough for these monsters" as he branded his daughter's killers "pure evil".

Scarlett Jenkinson must serve a minimum of 22 years
Scarlett Jenkinson must serve a minimum of 22 years. Picture: Cheshire Police

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The trial heard Jenkinson and Ratcliffe had a fascination for violence, torture and murder and a "thirst for killing".

They were discussing Brianna's murder for weeks, detailed in Jenkinson's handwritten murder plan and phone messages found by detectives.

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 grew 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, the trial heard.

Brianna had thousands of followers on TikTok, but in reality was a withdrawn, shy and anxious teenager who struggled with depression and rarely left her home.

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

At around 3pm, Brianna, who had been seen sitting on a bench, was suddenly attacked, possibly initially from behind, with Ratcliffe's hunting knife, which had a 13cm blade.

Brianna was "stabbed and stabbed and stabbed" in a "frenzied and ferocious" attack.

Both blamed the other for the killing but Jenkinson has now given other accounts, saying they both took part in the stabbing.

At Jenkinson's home, they found a handwritten note detailing the murder plan and naming Brianna as the victim.

Messages on their phones detailed their fascination with murder, torture and death, plans to kill other children and an earlier attempt to give Brianna an overdose.

Detectives believe Brianna was killed because she was vulnerable and accessible, done for "enjoyment" and a "thirst for killing".

Ratcliffe has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and selective mutism.

He is currently held a secure accommodation unit for youths near his family home.