UK

Plan to kill transgender Brianna Ghey found in accused’s bedroom, court told

Brianna Ghey was killed in February this year (Family handout/Warrington Police/PA)
Brianna Ghey was killed in February this year (Family handout/Warrington Police/PA) Brianna Ghey was killed in February this year (Family handout/Warrington Police/PA)

A plan to kill transgender teenager Brianna Ghey was found in the bedroom of one of the 16-year-olds accused of her murder, a court has heard.

The defendants, referred to as girl X and boy Y, are charged with murdering Brianna, a 16-year-old transgender girl who was stabbed in Culcheth Linear Park, near Warrington, Cheshire, on February 11.

Deanna Heer KC, prosecuting, on the second day of the trial at Manchester Crown Court, told the jury eight days before Brianna was killed that girl X sent boy Y a picture of a handwritten note headed: “Saturday 11th February 2023. Victim: Brianna Ghey.”

The note, found in girl X’s bedroom after her arrest, said: “Meet boy Y at wooden posts 1pm. Walk down to library … bus stop.

“Wait until Brianna gets off bus then the 3 of us walk to linear park. Go to the pipe/tunnel area.

“I say code word to boy Y. He stabs her in the back as I stab her in the stomach. Boy Y drags the body into the area. We both cover up the area with logs etc.”

Ms Heer said: “It is clearly, the prosecution say, a plan to kill Brianna Ghey.”

On February 10, girl X arranged to meet Brianna and later told boy Y she was “excited as f***”for February 11 after they discussed which knife he would bring, the court heard.

The next day, girl X and boy Y met shortly before 1pm.

Brianna left her house and boarded a bus to Culcheth, sending her mother a text message at 1.41pm which said: “I’m on the bus by myself, I’m scared.”

The three met just before 2pm and walked to the park.

Deanna Heer KC said there were some Snapchat messages between Brianna and girl X while they were in the park.

At 3.06pm a message from Brianna’s phone was sent to girl X, saying: “Girl where are you?”

Ms Heer said girl X deleted a chat from her Snapchat account seconds later.

She told the jury it was at about that time that the killing must have occurred.

A 999 call was made by Kathryn Vize at 3.13pm, reporting that somebody had been attacked and she had seen the attackers run away.

Brianna was pronounced dead at 4.02pm and a post-mortem examination found her cause of death was multiple stab wounds.

Ms Heer KC said: “The number of wounds and the pattern of injuries, taken as a whole, suggests that Brianna was subjected to a sustained and violent assault with a knife.”

She told the court bottles of soft drinks were found at the scene with DNA from girl X and boy Y on, indicating they had been present.

She said they remained together as they walked away from the park and were spotted on dashcam footage.

When the area was searched by police, Brianna’s mobile phone was found hidden in a drain, the jury was told.

The two defendants then separated and went home, Ms Heer said, but kept in contact on their telephones.

She said they kept each other informed of press reports about the incident in Linear Park while also “feigning ignorance” about what had happened.

Boy Y was also searching online for ways to combat anxiety, the court heard.

The court heard the two defendants exchanged messages shortly after 11pm in which girl X asked boy Y: “Do you have anxiety about getting caught?”

When boy Y replied “probably”, girl X responded: “You’re not going to get caught don’t worry. Police are shite here.”

The next day, girl X messaged Brianna saying: “Girl, is everything okay? Some teenage girl got killed in Linear Park it’s on news everywhere.

“And why did you ditch us for some random man from Manchester. Like wtf. That is so f***** up.”

Ms Heer continued: “The prosecution say that was an obvious attempt by girl X to set up a sort of false defence, were anybody to look at her phone in due course.”

Girl X then lied to her mother and, as a result, her mother called police at about 5pm the day after the murder.

Ms Heer said: “Girl X was with her at the time she called the police and told the police operator that they had been sitting on a bench in the park when Brianna looked at her phone and said she needed to meet some boy, a 17-year-old from Manchester who was going to meet her in his car.

“She said Brianna just stormed off and that was the last time she saw her.”

Girl X later messaged boy Y, repeating the story she had told police and telling him: “Make sure story adds up.”

She then posted a tribute to Brianna on Snapchat, describing her as an “amazing friend” and that it was “so f****** sickening” what had happened.

Police forensics officers at the scene of the attack
Police forensics officers at the scene of the attack Police forensics officers at the scene of the attack (Jason Roberts/PA)

Meanwhile, boy Y was online using the Crown Prosecution Service website, looking up penalties for supplying or withholding information.

Both defendants were arrested at their homes at about 7.30pm on February 12.

Police searched girl X’s bedroom, finding a number of handwritten notes, including the plan to kill Brianna and another plan to kill which said: “Give them alcohol with sleeping pills, slit throat, dismember body, place pieces in bin bags.”

There were also notes about serial killers including Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez and Harold Shipman, the court heard.

In Y’s bedroom police found trainers and a jacket with Brianna’s bloodstains on them.

Ms Heer said the pattern of staining showed Y was “right there” when Brianna was being stabbed.

A knife with blood matching Brianna’s DNA was also found during the search, Ms Heer said.

When interviewed by police, girl X said she had gone to Linear Park with Brianna but she left to go and meet a 17-year-old boy from Manchester.

Boy Y told police that girl X had stabbed Brianna, afterwards he went to check if she was alive, got blood on his hands and then “panicked”, and went with girl X when she ran.

He said he sent girl X messages about torture to make her laugh and was “only joking” when he spoke about wanting to stab a boy.

He answered no comment when he was asked about the hunting knife found in his bedroom with blood on the blade.

Closing the prosecution opening, Ms Heer said both defendants accepted being present with Brianna at the time she was killed and boy Y accepted taking a hunting knife with him.

Both denied inflicting any injuries, participating in the killing in any way and each blamed the other.

She said: “Plainly, they can’t both be telling the truth, can they? But the prosecution does not have to prove who it was that wielded the knife – whether it was one of them or both of them.”

She added: “While each now blames the other, they are both guilty.”

Ms Deer said it was “telling” that they left the scene together and remained in contact, acting together until they were “confronted with the evidence” and had no choice but to “turn on each other”.

The trial continues.