Brianna Ghey killers could have struck again, detectives warn

Brianna Ghey killers could have struck again: Detectives fear two torture-obsessed teenagers would have moved on to other victims after they drew up a ‘kill list’ of five potential targets

  • Follow every detail of the case on The Mail’s acclaimed podcast The Trial 

Two ‘warped’ torture-obsessed teenagers with a ‘thirst for killing’ could have struck again had they not been caught, detectives said as they were convicted of Brianna Ghey’s murder today.

The boy and girl, then both 15, had drawn up a ‘kill list’ of five potential targets.

Detectives fear they may have moved onto another victim had they not been arrested barely 24 hours after the transgender schoolgirl was hacked to death.

Neither killer can currently be named due to their age – both are now also 16 – so they are instead being referred to as Girl X and Boy Y. 

‘Timid’ Brianna’s slight body was found lying face-down in the mud at a popular beauty spot in a Cheshire village on February 11 this year. 

Brianna Grey was stabbed 28 times with a hunting knife on February 11, a court has been told

Forensic officers carrying equipment through Culcheth Linear Park on February 13 – two days after Brianna was killed

The teenager had suffered a horrifying 28 stab wounds in a ‘frenzied’ attack, with some of the wounds penetrating her heart, both lungs and major blood vessels.

Follow every detail of the case on The Mail’s acclaimed podcast The Trial 

The Trial…takes listeners behind the headlines and into the courtrooms of some of the biggest trials in the world.

The first series ‘The Trial of Lucy Letby’ was a global hit, with more than 13 million downloads, while season two focused on the murder of Ashling Murphy, a 23-year-old teacher from Ireland.

Its third season follows the tragic case of Brianna Ghey, a 16-year-old transgender girl killed in Warrington, England.

Follow the evidence as the jury hears it, in twice-weekly reports from The Daily Mail’s Northern Correspondent Liz Hull and broadcast journalist Caroline Cheetham.

While in real life, Brianna suffered from anxiety and had a small circle of friends, in the virtual world she had been on the way to becoming a social media sensation.

Her TikTok videos showing her styling her hair or lip-synching to pop songs had earned her 30,000 followers, many of them fellow transgender teenagers who saw her as an inspiration.

So her brutal and apparently inexplicable killing – on a Saturday afternoon, in a former railway cutting popular with dog walkers – caused waves of outrage and revulsion far beyond her home town of Warrington.

In the days that followed, a string of vigils were held across the globe for people to come together and express their grief.

Cheshire Police faced public pressure to treat Brianna’s brutal killing as a hate crime.

But within 24 hours, detectives had been given the names of one of her killers – a local girl who Brianna regarded as a good friend.

The name of the other soon followed as both had been seen with her in the village of Culcheth that afternoon.

Messages recovered from Girl X’s phone revealed she and Boy Y had drawn up detailed plans to kill five teenagers over the preceding weeks.

While Girl X was ‘obsessed’ with Brianna, Boy Y had never met her before the day of the murder.

His messages were littered with cruel references to Brianna as ‘it’ and dehumanising language.

After a teenage boy they wanted to kill ‘smelt a rat’, the WhatsApp chats showed how they turned their attention to Brianna.

Boy Y sent a message to Girl X saying ‘yeah, it’ll be easier and I want to see if it will scream like a man or a girl’.

Brianna on her final bus journey to Culcheth before she was found stabbed to death in Linear Park

Following today’s verdicts, Detective Superintendent Mike Evans, head of Cheshire CID, branded the murderous pair ‘two very warped individuals’ who had demonstrated ‘a thirst for killing’.

He added that there were ‘not many murders where you get from plan to execution almost documented word for word’.

READ MORE – Two torture-obsessed teenagers are found guilty of murdering Brianna Ghey

Asked whether he believed they could have claimed more victims had they not been caught so quickly, Det Supt Evans replied: ‘They did not seem particularly bothered by what they had done which maybe leads to the fact that there could have been, but God knows.’

A crumpled handwritten note was found in Girl X’s bedroom headed ‘Saturday 11th February 2023. Victim: Brianna Ghey’.

In the damning murder plan – an image of which she had sent Boy Y – she had written: ‘He stabs her in the back as I stab her in the stomach.’

The prosecution claimed that the ferocity of the wounds – inflicted using a 5in hunting knife which the trial heard Boy Y’s parents bought him during a skiing trip the previous month – and their locations suggested Boy Y had done exactly that.

A separate wound in Brianna’s stomach area could have been inflicted by Girl X as she lay dying, Deanna Heer KC claimed.

But following their convictions, Det Supt Evans said: ‘As to who did what, I am not sure we will ever know.’ 

The note – headed ‘Saturday 11th February 2023. Victim: Brianna Ghey’ – was found alongside jottings about serial killers including Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez and Harold Shipman

Brianna, 16, was found with fatal wounds on a path in the park near her home. She had messaged her mother on the way to the park to say she was ‘scared’

Brianna’s mother Esther (middle) makes her way into the court during the first day of the trail on November 27

READ MORE – How Brianna Ghey’s warped killer watched torture and death on the dark web 

As to why they targeted Brianna, the senior detective said he believed it was down to how her ‘trusting’ nature made her particularly ‘vulnerable’ to the pair’s plotting.

‘I don’t think this was a case of hatred or ill-feeling,’ he said.

‘If it was not Brianna, it would have been one of the other four children on the list.

‘It is just Brianna was the one who was accessible at that time and because the focus of those desires.’

Acknowledging that Boy Y used ‘dehumanising and transphobic’ language, he highlighted how by contrast Girl X was ‘admiring and almost obsessed with Brianna’.

As a result, he sticks by his belief that ‘Brianna was not killed because she was transgender’.

Questioned whether they killed her ‘for fun’, Det Supt Evans replied: ‘They killed because they wanted to prove that they could and they had a thirst for killing.

‘Maybe enjoyment is the right word.’

Det Supt Mike Evans, head of Cheshire CID 

Police at Culcheth Linear Park in Warrington, Cheshire, after Brianna was found dying

Police forensics officers walk into the park in Warrington to investigate in February 2022

READ MORE – Brianna Ghey’s mother launches ‘mindfulness’ campaign in her daughter’s memory 

But the ‘really intelligent and quite high functioning’ pair exhibited an ‘arrogance’ that ‘they would not get caught’, Det Supt added.

He slammed the killers’ ‘cowardice’ in subjecting Brianna’s family to a trial in which her terrifying final moments had to be picked over when there was ‘significant evidence’ against them.

Ursula Doyle, deputy chief prosecutor for Merseyside and Cheshire CPS, said the messages the pair exchanged had made ‘difficult reading’ and branded the plot to kill Brianna ‘absolutely shocking’.

‘Often messages need to be interpreted to find out what they mean, but these did not need to be interpreted, they were explicit and that is unusual,’ she said.

‘Their planning, the messages, the way they tried to cover up their offending all showed an arrogance.’

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