Two ‘torture-obsessed’ teenagers are on trial accused of the murder of a transgender schoolgirl who was stabbed to death in a ‘frenzied’ attack in an affluent English village.
One of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey’s alleged attackers, a girl who was 15 at the time, was obsessed with American serial killers including ‘Night Stalker’ Richard Ramirez and Jeffrey Dahmer, a jury has been told.
She swapped a string of messages with her co-accused, a boy who was then also aged 15, in which they discussed killing four other teenagers before allegedly settling on a plan to lure Brianna to her death in a secluded park.
Described as ‘strong and fearless’ by her family, Brianna had become a social media star in England before her shock killing in February.
TikTok videos showing her styling her hair or lip-syncing to pop songs had won her 30,000 followers.
Brianna Grey was stabbed 28 times with a hunting knife on February 11, a court has been told
One of Brianna’s alleged attackers was obsessed with American serial killers including ‘Night Stalker’ Richard Ramirez (left) and Jeffrey Dahmer (right), a jury has been told.
Neither of the alleged killers – both now aged 16 – can be named under English law, which entitles defendants to anonymity until they reach the age of 18, although judges have the authority to name and shame juveniles convicted of serious crimes.
Instead they are being referred to as Girl X and Boy Y.
Friends since the age of 11, the pair – said to have been fascinated by torture, violence and death – deny murdering Brianna in Culcheth Linear Park near Warrington, Cheshire on February 11.
Instead, ‘each blames the other’, prosecutor Deanna Heer KC has told Manchester Crown Court.
A handwritten alleged ‘murder plan’ to kill Brianna was later found in the bedroom of Girl X, who jurors have been told had described herself as a ‘Satanist’.
Police also found notes she had made about serial killers, placing them into categories and in some cases listing how many victims they had, a court heard.
A spider diagram with the words ‘good’ and ‘evil’ in the middle of it was also found, jurors have been told.
The first week of the trial heard a series of WhatsApp messages the pair exchanged in the weeks before the killing in which they discussed murdering four other teenagers.
On January 23 – three weeks before the killing – Girl X told Boy Y that she knew all about Ramirez, who terrorised residents of southern California in 1985, killing at least 13 people.
She wrote that she could talk about Ramirez ‘for like two hours, including quotes and dates of stuff’, the court has heard.
Two days later she sent Boy Y what the court was told was a list of Ramirez’s ‘credentials’ over Snapchat.
The pair swapped messages discussing trying to kill Brianna with an overdose, including hiding medication in a McDonald’s milkshake.
Girl X wrote that she had given Brianna pills ‘that should have been enough to kill her… but she didn’t die’.
In response, Boy Y suggested other chemicals which he said were ‘very dangerous’.
Brianna Grey suffered unsurvivable injuries to her head, neck, chest, back and sides
Jurors were told that at around the same time, Brianna’s mother Esther found her ‘screaming and crying’ in her bedroom and saying: ‘I think I’m going to die.’
But she began to recover after throwing up, with what may have been traces of medication found in her vomit.
The pair turned their attention to luring a teenager who can only be referred to as Boy E to his death, jurors have heard.
But he ‘smelt a rat’ after Girl X set up a fake Snapchat account and refused to meet up with her.
On January 26, she messaged Boy Y: ‘If we can’t get [Boy E] tomorrow we can kill Brianna.’
He replied ‘yeah, it’ll be easier and I want to see if it will scream like a man or a girl’.
As they allegedly planned the murder, Boy Y wrote: ‘Let’s have two words: one for getting the knife ready and another to stab.’
Girl X replied that she would look at him and cough to tell him it was time to get the knife ‘ready’, then she would say ‘gay’ to indicate that he should stab Brianna.
In messages the night before Brianna was stabbed, she told the boy she was watching her ‘favourite film’ Sweeney Todd for the ‘9,000th time’.
‘He kills people with one of the sharpest blades in the world,’ she wrote.
The 2007 movie stars Johnny Depp as a fictional serial killer and ‘demon barber of Fleet Street’ in Victorian London.
On the same night, girl X asked boy Y which knife he would bring when they met Brianna, to which boy Y responded: ‘The hunting knife I showed you in person as well as on the phone.’
A dog walker found Brianna’s bloodied body face-down in mud just after 3.10pm on February 11 and saw a boy and girl jogging away, the trial has heard.
Prosecutors have told the jury that the two youths planned to kill Brianna Grey (pictured)
Police and paramedics rushed to the park but Brianna had been stabbed 28 times in a ‘sustained and violent assault’ and died at the scene.
Footage from doorbell and CCTV cameras shows Brianna leaving her home that day and catching a bus to Culcheth where she is met by Girl X and Boy Y before they all walk to the park.
Further footage shows Girl X and Boy Y leaving together before going to their respective homes.
Following her arrest, notes were also found in her bedroom relating to fellow US serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer as well as Harold Shipman, a British doctor convicted of murdering 15 patients but believed to have killed as many as 250.
Other notes referenced John Wayne Gacy, the ‘Killer Clown’, including the note: ‘Serial killer, 33 victims, raped victims.’
Brianna Ghey’s mother Esther Ghey arrives at Manchester Crown Court on November 27
A further note listed a series of facts about serial killers and their characteristics including ‘hedonistic’, ‘mutilation’, ‘sexual predatory behaviour’ and ‘can be superficially charming’.
The trial has heard Brianna was stabbed 28 times in a ‘frenzied’ attack, suffering injuries ‘consistent’ with Boy Y’s 4¾in (12cm) hunting knife.
It was found, with traces of Brianna’s blood still on it, in his bedroom following his arrest the following evening.
However in a series of police interviews played to the jury this week, Boy Y denies bringing it to the park on the day Brianna was killed.
Giving his account of what allegedly happened, Boy Y claimed he had turned away to urinate in a tree, and on looking back saw Girl X stabbing her ‘at least three times’.
Girl X then ‘decided to run’, he added, at which he ‘panicked’, and they both walked back to their homes, leaving Brianna bleeding to death on the ground.
A vigil was held for Brianna Ghey outside the Department for Education in London in February
Asked by detectives why he hadn’t called police, Boy Y said he ‘wasn’t sure’ if Girl X ‘would try and come after me or anything’.
In Girl X’s police interview she said the pair were with Brianna at the park and that she seemed ‘very happy’, but she then abruptly ‘stormed off’ to meet ‘some lad’ from Manchester, who was picking her up in his car.
She only learned of Brianna’s death in a message from a friend when she returned home from the park, she said
‘I burst out crying,’ she said.
‘I went to my mum straight away.’
Giving her account of the last time she saw Brianna, Girl X told police: ‘We were sat there chilling for a bit. She looked at her phone.
‘She was like ‘I need to go and meet this lad’.
‘She said he was 17 and from Manchester, he was going to pick her up.
‘She started having a go at me, saying ‘stop interrogating me’.
‘And she just walked off. She ditched me.’
She said Boy Y – who hadn’t met Brianna before – had been ‘really, really quiet around her, he didn’t seem to like Brianna for some reason’.
‘He just seemed really cold and wasn’t talking much,’ she added.
People leave flowers near Linear Park in Culcheth in February where Brianna Ghey was found
Jurors have now heard all the pair’s police interviews, but neither has yet given evidence in court.
The pathologist who carried out a post mortem told the court that Brianna suffered stab wounds which would have required ‘considerable force’ to inflict.
Dr Alison Armour was asked by Richard Pratt KC, defending Girl X, as to whether it would be ‘fair to say they also required considerable strength?’
‘It requires a degree of strength, I accept that,’ she answered.
An expert has told the court that stains from ‘airborne’ blood found on the clothing Boy Y was wearing that day contradicted his claim that he turned around to see Girl X stabbing Brianna.
No bloodstains were found on Girl X’s clothes, although under questioning from Boy Y’s lawyer, the expert accepted that it was possible for bloodstains to vanish when clothes are washed.
Jurors have been told that the prosecution does not have to prove which of them wielded the knife, and that if they are sure that both ‘intentionally participated in the killing in some way’ they are both guilty of murder.
Boy Y, who is from Leigh, Greater Manchester, had been diagnosed with autism following his arrest, jurors have been told, along with a ‘high level of social anxiety’.
Girl X, who is from Warrington, has been found to have ‘traits of autism and ADHD’.
Neither has yet given evidence in their defence.
The trial continues.