A Manchester court sentenced two 16-year-old British teenagers — identified as Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe — to life in prison for the murder of Brianna Ghey, a transgender girl. The judge, who made a rare decision to reveal the identity of the attackers, described them as fascinated by “violence, torture and death” and “thirsty to kill”.
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The case occurred on February 11 last year and caused commotion in the country. Ghey, who was 16 years old, was stabbed 28 times, according to the British newspaper The Guardian and AFP, in the head, neck, chest and back with a hunting knife. The crime took place in a park in Warrington, near Liverpool, northwest England, where she lived. At the time, the attackers were 15 years old.
During the four-week trial, the two teenagers blamed each other for the murder, until both were finally convicted in December. Days later, Jenkinson admitted for the first time to a psychiatrist that he had stabbed Ghey, prosecutor Deanna Heer told the court, cited by AFP. The attacker confessed to having “taken the knife” from her friend Ratcliffe, who did not know the victim before the murder.
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Judge Amanda Yip said the culprits chose Ghey because they “both thought she would be an easy target”. She described the murder as “brutal and planned, sadistic in nature” as she handed down the sentence against the teenagers.
The victim’s mother, Esther Ghey, in a statement to the court, said her daughter was killed by someone they “believed to be her friend” and “trusted.”
— I have moments when I feel sorry for them because they also ruined their own lives, but I have to remember that they didn’t feel empathy for Brianna when they left her to bleed to death […], which was done not because Brianna had done anything wrong, but just because one hated trans people and the other thought it would be fun. — Her mother said, quoted by the British newspaper.
‘Brutal’ and ‘sadistic’
Jenkinson was described by the judge as the “driving force” behind the case, according to the British newspaper — she was allegedly responsible for most of the scams. She told psychiatrists that she stabbed the victim “repeatedly” and that she would have found it “thrilling.” She also expressed desires to “take body parts” from Ghey as a “prize.” Despite this, there is no evidence that any remains were taken, the Guardian pointed out.
The young woman was ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years before being considered for release. In a psychiatric evaluation, she was initially diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD, although the diagnosis changed after her conviction to “a severe form of dissocial conduct disorder, one of the characteristics of which is lack of empathy “.
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She was reportedly driven by “a deep desire to kill” and expressed a desire to commit new crimes after her conviction, the Guardian reported. Since she was arrested, she has compiled a list of possible victims, including some of her caregivers.
Ratcliffe, according to the Guardian, was a former kickboxer champion, as well as being a quiet and studious young man. He was diagnosed with ASD and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
List of deaths
The young people, until then identified as “Boy Y” and “Girl X”, would have grown up in families considered stable. According to the British newspaper, they met at age 11, at a school in Warrington, and remained friends even after Jenkinson moved to another institution. It was at this other school that the attacker met Ghey.
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Before carrying out the murder, the young men planned the crime for weeks, sending dozens of telephone messages to each other. Yip said the messages exchanged between the pair were “transphobic” and “dehumanizing.” In them, Ratcliffe referred to Ghey as “it”, rather than “she”.
The pair drew up a “kill list”, which included four other young men: one considered a “nonce” (British slang for “stupid” or “useless”) by Ratcliffe, a boy considered a love rival by him, and two boys who were said to have been bad with Jenkinson’s boyfriend. But, Brianna Ghey had the “misfortune” to befriend the attacker, who became “obsessed” with her, according to prosecutors.