The family of a girl who killed transgender teenager Brianna Ghey have described the year since the murder as ‘beyond our worst nightmares’.
In a statement released last night, Scarlett Jenkinson’s family said that they agreed with ‘the jury’s verdict, the judge’s sentence and the decision to name the culprits and added they are ‘truly sorry’ for her horrific crimes.
Jenkinson was named and given a life sentence along with co-conspirator Eddie Ratcliffe for the murder of the 16-year-old in a Warrington park in February 2023. Both killers were 15 at the time.
Jenkinson’s family said that their lives were in ‘turmoil, but the immediate focus is to make sure that we don’t do anything against the wishes of Brianna’s family.’
They also thanked the mother of Brianna Ghey in their statement which read: ‘We offer our sincere thanks to Esther Ghey for her incredible selflessness and empathy towards our family.
‘Her compassion is overwhelming and we are forever grateful.
Face of a killer: Scarlett Jenkinson was named for the first time on Friday
A family photo, taken when Jenkinson was aged 11, shows her dressed in a smart blue dress, flanked by her parents, as they attend a party with family friends
Aged five, she is pictured perched on top of a pony wearing a purple riding helmet. A relative commented: ‘My beautiful Scarlett at her horse-riding party, she loved it’
Scarlett Jenkinson, previously known only as Girl X, was convicted of Brianna’s murder and admitted to being obsessed with serial killers and torture videos
Brianna was stabbed to death 28 times with a hunting knife on February 11, suffering ‘unsurvivable’ injuries
Eddie Ratcliffe, a former champion kickboxer, was revealed as Boy Y on Friday
Ratcliffe (pictured) who brought the hunting knife to the scene himself, said he thought Jenkinson was ‘joking’ in a message about killing Brianna
‘To all of Brianna’s family and friends, our community and everyone else that has been affected by this horror, we are truly sorry.’
It had been heard earlier that Scarlett Jenkinson wanted to keep part of Brianna Ghey’s flesh as a token and said she was ‘excited’ as she stabbed the schoolgirl to death, a court heard.
Jenkinson killed Brianna anticipating that she was going to leave her, and wanted part of her body so she would ‘always be with her’, prosecutor Deanna Heer KC said.
She also admitted an earlier incident when Brianna became ill came about in an attempt by her to poison her victim with pills.
Ms Heer said, in a further account of events to a probation officer, Jenkinson had said she and Eddie Ratcliffe deliberately lured Brianna to the park.
Ms Heer continued: ‘On this occasion she said it was she who first inflicted stab wounds then passed it to Eddie who forced the victim to the floor, stabbing her about three times, at that point she took the knife and delivered the majority of stab wounds.
Jenkinson was moved to Brianna Ghey’s school after being expelled from another comprehensive for trying to ‘poison’ a fellow pupil with cannabis sweets.
Peter Spooner (pictured), father of teenager Brianna Ghey, arrives at Manchester Crown Court on February 2, 2024
The family and friends of Brianna Ghey arriving at Manchester Crown Court. Ghey’s mother Esther Ghey (centre)
Brianna Ghey’s (centre) mother Esther Ghey arrives at Manchester Crown Court
Peter Spooner (right) father of Brianna Ghey, arriving at Manchester Crown Court
Esther Ghey (pictured), mother of teenager Brianna Ghey, arrives at Manchester Crown Court on February 2, 2024
Until her arrest on February 12 for the murder of Brianna, Jenkinson seemed to be an ordinary teenage girl.
The then-15-year-old was seen by neighbours as quiet and somewhat anxious, born to ‘hard-working’ parents – a tradesman father and a mother who worked in education.
But behind the façade lay obsessions with torture and murder, dark fantasies and expert knowledge on serial killers – knowledge Jenkinson would draw on to build up her own ‘kill list’ of other children and ultimately plot Brianna’s death.
The teenager had already been expelled from ‘several’ schools by the time she joined Birchwood Community High in Warrington, Cheshire.
And today, as Jenkinson is revealed as Girl X, it can be revealed that she was most recently expelled for attempting to poison a fellow pupil with cannabis ‘gummies’ which made them ill.
Jenkinson persuaded the girl to take two of the sweets, which unknown to her were laced with marijuana, in Culcheth High School’s library – but the pupil became seriously unwell and needed hospital treatment after the attack in October 2022.
The teenager was excluded, and moved to nearby Birchwood High School, where she met Brianna in the ‘inclusion unit,’ where vulnerable and troubled pupils are taught away from mainstream lessons.
Brianna was in the unit because of her struggles with anxiety and Jenkinson because of her expulsion.
‘When [Jenkinson] was arrested I just thought it had to be a mistake. She was never any trouble. I never so much as saw her drop a piece of litter,’ one neighbour said.
But the Mail understands Warrington Borough Council have launched an independent child safeguarding review following Brianna’s murder, which will examine Jenkinson’s interaction with key agencies, including the police, social services and schools.
It has been claimed Brianna’s school were unaware of the extent of Jenkinson’s behaviour, including the fact that a child did not know what they were taking, that she became unwell and that the police were called.
Headteacher Emma Mills said: ‘If anything came up where we thought that it would be a danger in any way, then you can simply refuse. In Scarlett’s case there was nothing that raised a concern in terms of the information that we were given.’
The father of a pupil at Culcheth High said his daughter was lucky to be alive after she refused to take the drug sweets from Jenkinson.
He said: ‘There was a massive incident at the high school and Scarlett Jenkinson got expelled.
‘Listening to the murder trial has been absolutely horrific. When she tried to poison my daughter I thought I was overreacting thinking it was attempted murder – you never think a child of 15 would want to do that to another kid.
‘She tried to give two (cannabis gummies) to my daughter, but she didn’t take them (and) one of the other girls in the library did. She ended up in A&E.’
Another former pupil said Jenkinson would turn up to lessons with red eyes, high on ‘substances and stuff’ and ‘smelling of weed.’
Ratcliffe tried to claim he was just ‘playing along’ with a ‘fantasy’ dreamt up by Jenkinson
Ratcliffe (pictured) was ‘genius’ level smart and a ‘sociopath’ who friends deemed socially awkward, according to his female accomplice
Teenager Scarlett Jenkinson, known as Girl X during the murder trial, had a start in life in a leafy Cheshire village that many would envy
Behind the façade lay obsessions with torture and murder, dark fantasies and expert knowledge on serial killers – knowledge Jenkinson would draw on to build up her own ‘kill list’ of other children and ultimately plot Brianna’s death
‘Timid’ Brianna’s body was found face-down in the mud in a Cheshire village on February 11
Brianna suffered stab wounds to her head, neck, chest, back and sides
In a frenzied attack, Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe, both 15 at the time, stabbed Brianna with a hunting knife
During the trial the jury were told that Jenkinson lured Brianna to the park on the pretence that they would take cocaine together.
The father described Jenkinson as ‘manipulative’ and also claimed she was known for bullying other children. She also played truant so she could stay at home and watch horror films, he said.
‘Every parent of every kid in this village feels like their children have had a lucky escape,’ the father said.
‘She was a bully and a manipulator. She would never get her hands dirty, she’d always get someone else to do it. When we heard it was Scarlett and Eddie (who had been arrested) we immediately thought it would be Scarlett telling him to stab her.
‘It’s been horrible, every parents’ nightmare. I’m just so thankful that my daughter is still here because it could have been her, she could have been one of the kids on their kill list. I feel so bad for Brianna’s family but I’m so grateful that my daughter is ok.’
Jenkinson did not have close friends at school, where she told fellow pupils she was involved in satanism and believed she was a witch, a source said.
But although she had problems in education, she had never come to the attention of police and continued to appear to live as an ordinary teenager in a respectable family.
Yet while the local community remained unaware of Jenkinson’s proclivities towards violence, her classmates were far from oblivious – although no-one took her claims seriously.
One father of a child at the school said: ‘It was common knowledge from 2020 that she had a ‘kill list’ of kids she wanted to kill.
‘My daughter came home and told me about it, but no one took it seriously. Girl X tried to recruit other children to take part in blood rituals with her, everyone just thought she was weird and a fantasist.
‘You won’t find a single student that liked her.’
During her testimony, in which she blamed Eddie Ratcliffe, previously known as Boy Y, for Brianna’s murder, Jenkinson said she suffers from anxiety and had used self-harm as a ‘coping mechanism’ from the age of 12.
She had a long-standing interest in violence, telling Ratcliffe her favourite film was Sweeney Todd which she had watched ‘9000 times’.
The 15-year-old also claimed to have killed two people before – but there is no evidence to suggest this is true.
Jenkinson even watched the movie the night before killing Brianna, telling Ratcliffe: ‘He kills people with one of the sharpest blades in the world.’
Until her arrest on February 12 for the murder of Brianna Ghey , Scarlett Jenkinson seemed to be an ordinary teenage girl. But behind the façade lay obsessions with torture and murder
Officers found a note written by Girl X of an alleged ‘murder plan’ against Brianna
Today, as Jenkinson is revealed as Girl X, the Mail can reveal that she was most recently expelled for attempting to poison a fellow pupil with cannabis ‘gummies’ which made them ill
Brianna Ghey’s mother Esther Ghey arrives at Manchester Crown Court on November 27
She reported beginning to fantasize about killing people from the age of 14, at which point she became interested in ‘dark materials’, including films of murder, torture and serial killers found on the dark web via an app she had downloaded.
In December, she sent an advert to Ratcliffe for an underground site for people who like rape, torture and murder. ‘I love watching torture vids,’ she told him. ‘Real ones on the dark web.’
Jenkinson was infatuated with serial killers such as ‘Milwaukee Monster’ Jeffrey Dahmer, the cannibal and necrophiliac who killed and dismembered 17 men between 1978 and 1991, ‘Night Stalker’ Richard Ramirez, whose 13 victims included a nine-year-old girl and a 79-year-old woman, and ‘Dr Death’ Harold Shipman, the English GP suspected of killing around 250 people.
Speaking to Ratcliffe about Ramirez, she told him: ‘I could talk about him for like two hours, including quotes and dates of stuff.’
Pages from Jenkinson’s notebook released by police on Friday show she made detailed notes about various killers, including quotes, how many they killed and the methods they used to mutilate their victims.
Experts told the Mail how Jenkinson’s perusal of online content such as this would have ‘desensitised’ her to to horrific violence she was viewing.
Professor Alan Woodward, a computer science and cyber security specialist from Surrey University, said: ‘The internet leads to a lot of criminal activity because it’s seen as fantasy. Users are not only desensitised but they are goaded into doing it themselves.
‘They see other people doing it or they might do something softer or something illegal online and no one comes knocking at their door, so they carry out a frenzied attack and they don’t think of the consequences because they are still living in that online virtual world.’
The 15-year-old also claimed to have killed two people before – but there is no evidence to suggest this is true
Eddie Ratcliffe, previously known as Boy Y, was allowed to play with a fidget toy and do crossword puzzles
Photo issued by Cheshire Constabulary of the notebook belonging to Scarlett Jenkinson with notes different types of serial killers
A notebook belonging to Scarlett Jenkinson with notes about serial killer Jeffery Dahmer
Jenkinson also made chilling notes about serial killer Dr Harold Shipman
Jenkinson also made notes about serial killer John Wayne Gacy
Here killer Jenkinson made notes about serial killer Richard Ramirez
A notebook belonging to Scarlett Jenkinson with definitions of good and evil
He told The Trial podcast it was impossible to ‘stumble’ upon these sites and instead Jenkinson would have been ‘pushed’ towards them by the algorithms of social media after expressing an interest online.
She had downloaded an ‘onion browser’ six months before Brianna’s murder which allowed her to access and watch videos of people being murdered and tortured, sometimes via live streams, on the dark web without being traced.
She and Ratcliffe had been discussing killing someone for months and Jenkinson had drawn up a list of potential targets with at least five children’s names on, including Brianna’s.
In October 2022, they talked about killing Boy M, who cannot be named for legal reasons. In messages shown to the court Jenkinson asked: ‘Can I keep some things, a couple of teeth and an eye?’
Professor Alan Woodward, a computer science and cyber security specialist from Surrey University, said Jenkinson would have been pushed towards more violent content by online algorithms
Police forensic officers at the scene in Culcheth Linear Park in Cheshire on February 13
However Jenkinson soon moved on to Brianna after becoming ‘obsessed’ over her.
On January 23, she claimed to have tried to kill Brianna by poisoning her with painkillers: ‘You know that girl I mentioned, Brianna, I’m still tryna [sic] kill her and the easiest way is pill overdose…
‘Ppl [people] already know she is depressed and sh*t so nobody would get sus [suspicious] but for some reason she has a high tolerance like I gave her some today that should have been enough to kill her…’
Jenkinson then set about devising a meticulous plan for how to kill Brianna, enlisting Ratcliffe’s help and, crucially, his hunting knife.
A handwritten note found by police in her bedroom following her arrest read: ‘Meet [Eddie] at wooden posts 1pm. Walk down to library, bus stop. Wait until Brianna gets off bus, then the three of us walk to Linear Park. Go to the pipe/tunnel area.
‘I say code word to [Eddie]. He stabs her in the back as I stab her in stomach. [Boy Y] drags the body into the area. We both cover up the area with logs etc.’
Jenkinson (pictured) did not have close friends at school, where she told fellow pupils she was involved in satanism and believed she was a witch, a source said
Screen grab taken from undated bodyworn worn video issued by Cheshire Constabulary of the arrest of Scarlett Jenkinson
Jenkinson (pictured) during her police interview
The judge concluded that while Jenkinson was motivated by her ‘deep desire’ to kill, Ratcliffe was ‘motivated in part by hostility towards Brianna because she was transgender’. He used ‘dehumanising’ language, repeatedly referring to her as ‘it’ and speculating about whether she would scream ‘like a man or a girl’. In one message, he told Jenkinson he wanted to kill Brianna because he ‘wanted to know what size d*** it had’.
Mrs Justice Yip said that because each killer was aware of the other’s motivations, she considered them both to be partly driven by transphobia.
Cheshire Police previously rejected calls to investigate Brianna’s murder as a hate crime against her due to her transgender identity. The force declined to comment on the matter when contacted after sentencing had been completed.
Speaking outside Manchester Crown court following the sentencing, Senior Crown Prosecutor Nicola Wyn Williams said Brianna’s killing is considered a hate crime.
She said the CPS applied to the judge for an increase in the killers’ sentences as it believed the ‘killing was a hate crime, motivated in part by hostility towards Brianna because she was transgender’.
‘We are pleased that the court has agreed that this was a motive,’ she added.
David Wilson, professor of criminology at Birmingham City University and a former prison governor who ran specialised units for some of Britain’s most notorious serial killers, believes that plotting the murder through graphic messages on Snapchat and WhatsApp helped accelerate their plan to kill Brianna Ghey, who was murdered within weeks of the pair identifying her as a victim.
‘Brianna’s murder went from an imagined fantasy to reality within what seems like a breath,’ says Professor Wilson.
He adds that the relationship between Jenkinson and Ratcliffe was a classic folie à deux, which literally means a shared madness or delusion that is typically found in couples who kill.
Less typical is the fact that Jenkinson and Ratcliffe were not boyfriend and girlfriend, and unlike other notorious British killer couples, such as Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley and Rose and Fred West, the female — Jenkinson — was the ‘dominant’ one in the partnership.
‘Within every folie à deux there is always a dominant, someone who is in charge, and a subservient,’ Prof Wilson said.
‘In this case, it is Jenkinson that seemed to be the one in charge. And that is interesting because having the woman being the more dominant within the folie à deux is not particularly common.
‘I think Jenkinson’s confession that she also stabbed Brianna – which she had initially denied, placing all the blame on Ratcliffe – is very significant because I think through that confession what we are beginning to see is the actual workings of the power relationship between the two and how unusually it’s her, the woman, who’s in charge of this particular folie a deux.’