Disclaimer: The prosecution in the Brianna Ghey murder trial has submitted evidence which is alleged to have been sent by the defendants. This includes remarks referencing Brianna’s trans status alongside descriptions of incredibly graphic violence and other disturbing content. Please read with caution and consider reaching out to support groups such as Mind UK if you or anyone you know is affected by the issues discussed.
Yesterday, the prosecution concluded their opening submissions in the murder trial concerning the death of Brianna Ghey, where two teenagers have been accused of stabbing the young trans girl to death in a park near Warrington.
The teenagers – now aged 16, but who were 15 at the time of Brianna’s death in February this year – appeared in court to hear the opening submissions. Reporting restrictions prevent naming the minor defendants, known only as X, a girl, and Y, a boy.
The opening speech by the prosecution was delivered by Deanna Heer KC. The court so far has only heard some of the evidence, with the trial expected to last four weeks. The following is an unproven timeline of events as alleged by the prosecution, while reading please remember to bear in mind that the defense is yet to have its chance to respond to these claims.
Preoccupation with violence
The prosecution argued that messages between X and Y in the months leading up to Brianna Ghey’s murder show a preoccupation with violence, torture and death. These messages record them discussing how they wanted to kill people they knew.
One such discussion read out to the jury concerned the killing of M. During this conversation, X offered to kill him whilst Y restrained him, “so its easier”. X said if she did “end up” killing M, she had “a really sharp blade, the same one that Sweeney Todd uses”. She stated she would want to “keep some things”, suggesting “a couple of teeth and an eye”. Y suggested that she could cut his heels and chop his tongue out so he could not run or talk.
The jury heard that X had researched “serial killer facts”. X had sent Y a video advertising a dark web site for rape, snuff, torture, and murder footage, with X telling Y that she “loved” such content. They discussed different methods to kill people, and the jury was told that Y’s search history showed him researching nerve agents following such conversations.
The jury was then told that, in December 2022, X asked Y how she could get hold of real videos of people being tortured because on the dark web you usually had to pay. In these messages, X spoke about hallucinating that she was covered in the blood of someone she had murdered, hearing him scream or choke on his own blood and seeing herself smiling holding the knife.
The prosecution alleged that in January 2023, Y sent X a photograph of a hunting knife, and that it was this knife which was eventually used to kill Brianna Ghey.
The evidence presented by the prosecution appears to shows multiple references to Brianna’s trans identity.
The prosecution told the jury that X was intrigued by Brianna. In December 2022, she sent a messages to Y which said:
“I’m obsessed over someone I know but don’t have feelings for them… She’s called Brianna… I don’t know how to explain. Also she has a dick lol”.
X then sent Y some pictures of Brianna which Brianna had posted online. Y responded:
“Is it a femboy or a tr*nny”? [not originally censored]
The prosecution stated that X told Y that Brianna was “Trans” and that she sounded just like a girl and looked really pretty.
The court heard that Y then replied that they had different tastes and asked X to describe how she felt when she interacted with “It” – Brianna. X said she got nervous and stuff but her heart felt normal. Y responded, “I don’t think you’re necessarily in love but I think you’re more curious and intrigued by its unnatural nature”. X agreed that she found Brianna fascinating, saying, “She’s really different”.
However, according to the prosecution, X’s fascination with Brianna turned much darker. The jury were told that X sent Y some pictures of a pair of scissors and a tissue with blood on them saying that she was going to eat human flesh, followed by a graphic message outlining how she had killed someone. The prosecution told the jury that Y asked X – “Was it your femboy thing”. X replied, “No they went on holiday, I didn’t have a chance to”.
The prosecution described how the pair then discussed an attempt to kill Brianna by poisoning her with red ibuprofen gel tablets. X claimed she had attempted this, and had given her enough to kill her, but that Brianna seemed to have a “high tolerance”. The prosecution evidence suggested this method was specifically adopted because overdose would be thought to be unsuspicious, due to Brianna being “depressed”. X told Y that although Brianna had fallen ill and thrown up, she did not die.
According to evidence from the prosecution, X was not lying. Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey – the jury was told – recalled that Brianna had been sick at the time. Her mother recalled that Brianna “was in real pain and thought she was going to die”, with her mother thinking it could be appendicitis. The prosecution told the jury that Brianna’s mother had noticed what she thought were grape skins in Brianna’s vomit at the time, but that these may well have been the remnants of red ibuprofen gel tablets.
The prosecution outlined further discussion between X and Y, concerning Brianna. X noted that Brianna was still ill from the tablets she had given her. Y responded that if it got worse Brianna might be taken to hospital. Y suggested that X should try again, mixing together different chemicals to “make it more dangerous”. Y said that X might be able to add sodium hydroxide to Brianna’s drink.
The prosecution also outlined other detailed discussions where the pair planned to target other people. Another boy, E, was one of these targets. Y in a Whatsapp conversation with two other friends had called E “a nonce” and said he wanted to see him beaten to death.
The prosecution told the jury that by the 26th January 2023 the defendants had compiled a list of four people they wanted to kill in addition to Brianna. X suggested that they should kill E this Saturday at 1pm because he was the easiest. Y suggested that could build a noose and make it look like he had killed himself. X responded saying they should just stab him. Y asked whether he would be able to stab E. X agreed and suggested a location and detailed plan for the stabbing. X then asked whether Y had an appropriate weapon.
The jury were then told how the pair discussed how they could lure E out. X went as far as creating a fake Instagram account named “The Cum Lord” in order to bait E. They then discussed how to kill E, eventually deciding that the best way would be to hang him. However, E blocked the Instagram account.
Following this, the prosecution described a conversation where X told Y “If we can’t get E tomorrow we can kill Brianna.” Y allegedly agreed, stating:
“yeah, it’ll be easier and I want to see if it will scream like a man or a girl”.
The prosecution then outlined discussion between the pair on how to kill Brianna. Eventually X suggested, “Lets stab her. Original E plan. Back and throat”.
The prosecution described the failure of the first attempt to meet with Brianna. X told Y that Brianna had agreed to meet in Culcheth. Y replied that he would bring his knife, and X replied to ask if it was “definitely sharp enough”.
According to the prosecution X then told Y that they would meet at 12 to rehearse the plan. After this they would meet Brianna and Y would slit her throat. X asked Y to pass the knife back to X, because she would want to stab Brianna at least once for “fun”, even if she was dead.
The court heard that when Y asked whether X would have her own knife, X confirmed she had a chef blade. Y said, “Let’s have two words: one for getting the knife ready and another to stab”.
The following morning X allegedly responded, “For get knife ready I’ll look at you and cough and to stay [stab] I’ll say gay”.
The jury was told, however, that although X and Y met up the next day, Brianna cancelled her plans with the pair last minute.
The prosecution described that the defendants continued to discuss killing Brianna on Monday 30th January. X suggested she could kill Brianna by giving her an overdose of cocaine but then said, “…let’s just stab her. Its more fun”. Y agreed.
The jury were told that on the 3rd February 2023 X sent Y a picture of a handwritten note headed, “Saturday 11th February 2023. Victim: Brianna Ghey”. This note was found in X’s bedroom following her arrest. It contained a detailed plan to kill Brianna by stabbing her and then to hide her body with logs.
The prosecution alleged that on Friday 10th February 2023 Y asked X whether X had asked “It” [Brianna] whether she could meet the next day. X confirmed that Brianna had agreed to meet them at 1pm.
The jury were told that X had asked Y what knife he was bringing. Y told her that he was bringing his hunting knife, “I showed you in person as well as on the phone”. X replied, “Yeah I remember. And that will definitely 100% kill her?” Y assured her that it would, saying “Yes, it cuts my skin easily”.
The prosecution described how the group met up on the Saturday, and were captured on CCTV. On the way to park a bus driver noticed Brianna. He recalled that she seemed very timid. The court heard how Brianna’s mother confirmed that she was an anxious child, who did not normally go out on her own. At 1.41pm Brianna sent a message to her mum saying, “I’m on the bus by myself, I’m scared”. Her mum replied that it was good.
The jury were told that Brianna and X communicated using Snapchat, and that some messages were recovered which show that they were using snapchat whilst they were in the park. At 3.13pm, withness Kathryn Vize called 999 and asked for the police and an ambulance saying that somebody had been attacked and that she had seen the attackers run away. Paramedics attending the scene were unable to save Brianna’s life.
A summary of the killing
According to the prosecution, Ghey’s body was discovered by a couple walking their dogs, with two figures – a girl and boy – seen fleeing the scene. It is not disputed that the figures seen fleeing were the defendants, X and Y, and that the pair had discussed killing her in previous the days and weeks.
The prosecution also told the court that it is accepted that Ghey was killed with a knife that belonged to Y, that Y had told X he would have the knife with him on the day of Brianna’s killing, and that he had also told X that it was sharp enough to kill Brianna.
The prosecution presented evidence from Brianna Ghey’s post-mortem, indicating that she had been stabbed 28 times. The prosecution emphasised that the number of wounds inflicted suggested that Brianna had been “subjected to a sustained and violent assault with a knife”. The jury was told that these wounds were “unsurvivable”.
The prosecution stated that many of the stab wounds caused damage to bone, with the jury being told that such damage could only be caused by the use of “considerable force”. In addition to the numerous fatal wounds incurred, the jury was told of other superficial wounds which would have caused her “pain and suffering”. The prosecution described other wounds “consistent with defensive injuries”, suggesting that Brianna had tried to defend herself as she died.
The prosecution stated that each defendant denies that they are guilty of murder, and that they participated in the killing of Brianna at all, with each blaming the other.
The prosecution case is that, whoever delivered the fatal blows, both defendants are equally guilty. Acting together, they planned and executed their plan to kill her. This is called joint enterprise.
After the killing
The prosecution described the area where Brianna’s body was found as pooled in her blood.
The jury were told that an unopened bottle of Dr Pepper was found close to this area, and that X’s DNA was recovered from the cap. They were also told that an empty bottle of coke had been found, with Y’s DNA recovered from the mouthpiece and the cap.
The jury were told how, having left the scene, X and Y remained together as they made their way on foot back to Culcheth. At 3.15pm they were captured on a dash cam.
According to the prosecution, on the 15th Feb, this area was searched by the police, who found, hidden in a drain outside, Brianna’s mobile stained with her blood.
The prosecution highlighted how the defendants exchanged messages pretending to have no knowledge of Brianna’s death.
The court heard that, at 5.25pm, X sent a message to Y, which said “My brother just told me not to [go to the park] coz a woman got stabbed.” Y replied, “Jesus really”. When X then relayed information that police officers were in the park because a woman had been murdered, Y replied, “Holy crap”.
The prosecution described how the defendants continued to exchange messages that night. At 11.11pm X asked Y, “Do you have anxiety about getting caught”. Y replied, “Probably.” X responded, “You’re not going to get caught don’t worry. Police are shite here.”
The next day X sent the following messages to Brianna’s account, the prosecution say, whilst knowing that she was dead:
“Girl, is everything okay? And some teenage girl got killed in linear park its on news everywhere. And why did you ditch us for some random man from Manchester. Like wtf. That is so fucked up.”
The prosecution argue that this was an attempt by X to set up a false defence, and that this was the story that X was to tell her mother and the police in due course.
The court heard that after telling her mother this story, X sent a message to Y telling him that her mum had spoken to the police, she told him, “Make sure story adds up…”. X repeated to Y the story she had just provided to the police so that he would know what to say.
Later, X allegedly posted a picture of Brianna on snapchat with the caption:
“Brianna was one of the best people I have ever met and such an amazing friend its so fucking sickening what got done to her”
Later that day, both X and Y were arrested on suspicion of murder.
The prosecution described how numerous articles were found in the defendants’ bedrooms. From X’s bedroom they recovered clothing which resembled the clothes she was wearing on the CCTV footage of 11th February. They also found a Chef-Aid kitchen knife.
In addition, they allegedly found a number of handwritten notes, including the note X had photographed and sent to Y, which outlined the plan to kill Brianna. The court heard of another detailed plan to kill which was also found. There were also notes about serial killers, including Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez and Harold Shipman.
According to the prosecution, from Y’s bedroom, the police recovered clothing which resembled the clothing that he was wearing on CCTV footage of the 11th February. A pair of Y’s muddy trainers were also found, which had spatters of Brianna’s blood on them. A black jacket was found hanging on the back of his bedroom door, also stained with blood.
The prosecution alleged that the distribution of blood staining on these items suggests that Y, whilst wearing this jacket was in close proximity to a source of airborne blood from Brianna and is what the scientist would expect to see if there had been blows into Brianna’s wet blood. A knife was also found, with bodily tissue near the hilt matching Brianna’s DNA.
The court heard that Y was asked during a police interview about his conversations with X about Brianna and why he referred to Brianna as “It”. He said that he would make jokes about gayness with his friends but he didn’t actually care if anyone was gay or not.
The prosecution told the jury that both defendants now accept that they were present in the park with Brianna at the time she was killed, and that Y accepts that he took his hunting knife with him. However, both also now deny that they inflicted any injury upon her.
The prosecution explained that, in law, a person can be guilty of murder even though they do not administer the fatal blow, if they assist or encourage another person to commit the offence and if they do so intending that the offence be committed.
The prosecution argues that the evidence clearly demonstrates that the defendants acted together to bring about Brianna’s death and that they intended to kill her. As a result of this, the prosecution argues the jury can be sure both defendants are guilty of murder.