Two British teenagers were found guilty Wednesday of the “disturbing” murder of a 16-year-old transgender girl who died in a “frenzied and ferocious” knife attack.
Brianna Ghey, who was born male but lived as a female, was stabbed 28 times in her head, neck, back and chest in Warrington, northwest England, in February.
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Her body was discovered by dog walkers in a park.
During the trial, the court heard how the pair — a boy and a girl now aged 16, who cannot be named because of their ages — discussed killing Ghey in the days and weeks before she died.
The case drew international attention and shock in Britain, given the young age of the pair arrested.
A jury of seven men and five women convicted the two after a four-week trial at Manchester Crown Court.
“I will have to impose a life sentence,” judge Amanda Yip warned the two defendants. A sentencing date has not yet been confirmed.
“What I have to decide is the minimum amount of time you will be required to serve before you might be considered for release,” the judge added.
An application from the media to be allowed to publish the names of the defendants will be heard on Thursday morning.
– Violence –
The court heard how one of the accused, girl X, had downloaded an internet browser app that allowed her to enjoy watching videos of the torture and murder of real people, in “red rooms” on the “dark web”.
The girl developed an interest in serial killers, making notes on their methods, and admitted enjoying “dark fantasies” about killing and torture, the court was told.
The pair later drew up a “kill list” of four other youths they intended to harm, until Ghey had the “misfortune” to be befriended by girl X, who became “obsessed” with her, according to prosecutors.
Ghey had thousands of followers on the social media platform TikTok, but in reality was a withdrawn, shy and anxious teenager who struggled with depression and rarely left her home, the jury was told.
Deputy chief crown prosecutor Ursula Doyle said after the verdict that the case had been “one of the most distressing” cases she has ever dealt with.
“The planning, the violence and the age of the killers is beyond belief,” she said.
Outside the court Ghey’s mother, Esther Ghey remembered her daughter being “larger than life, funny, witty and fearless”.
She said before the trial there were “moments” where she felt sorry for the defendants “because they had ruined their own lives as well as ours”.
“Now we know the true nature and seeing neither display an ounce of remorse for what they have done to Brianna, I have lost all sympathy that I may have previously had for them,” she said.
“I am glad they will spend many years in prison and away from society,” she said.