‘Victim: Brianna Ghey’: Handwritten note found in girl’s bedroom ‘detailed plot to lure transgender teenager to a park before stabbing her 28 times with male friend’, trial hears

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By Ketrin Agustine

  • Brianna, 16, was found dying from 28 stab wounds on February 11 this year
  • Two teenagers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, deny murder

A teenager accused of murdering transgender schoolgirl Brianna Ghey drew up a handwritten plan for how she and a male friend would kill the 16-year-old, a court heard today.

The note, which was headed ‘Saturday 11th February 2023. Victim: Brianna Ghey’, was found in the 15-year-old’s bedroom following her arrest after Brianna was found dying from 28 stab wounds, jurors were told.

An image of the note was sent by the torture-obsessed schoolgirl – who can only be referred to as Girl X due to her age – to her friend, Boy Y, on February 3 after the pair drew up a list of five people they wanted to kill, Manchester Crown Court heard today.

It read: ‘Meet Boy Y at wooden posts 1pm. Walk down to library…bus stop.

‘Wait until Brianna gets off bus then the 3 of us walk to linear park. Go to the pipe/tunnel area.

‘I say code word to Boy Y. He stabs her in the back as I stab her in the stomach.

‘Boy Y drags the body into the area. We both cover up the area with logs etc.’

‘It is clearly, the prosecution say, a plan to kill Brianna Ghey,’ prosecutor Deanna Heer KC said.

‘Victim: Brianna Ghey’: Handwritten note found in girl’s bedroom ‘detailed plot to lure transgender teenager to a park before stabbing her 28 times with male friend’, trial hears

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 Ghey's mother Esther arriving at Manchester Crown Court on Monday as two teenagers stand trial accused of murdering her daughter

Brianna's father Peter Spooner rubs his eye as he arrives at court with his partner by his side

After making arrangements to meet Brianna on February 11, Girl X messaged Boy Y to say she was ‘excited as f***’, Miss Heer said as she continued opening the prosecution case today.

At 3.13pm, dog walker Kathryn Vize called 999 to say she had found a badly injured female at Culcheth Linear Park and had seen her attackers running away.

An air ambulance was dispatched to the former railway cutting but Brianna had been stabbed 28 times to the head, neck, back and chest, with her jugular vein severed, causing ‘catastrophic blood loss’, Miss Heer said.

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Another knife blow penetrated Brianna’s heart, she added, and she was pronounced dead at the scene at 4.02pm.

Brianna died after suffering 28 separate stab wounds inflicted using a hunting knife in a ‘sustained and violent assault’, jurors heard yesterday.

The trial was told that there was ‘no dispute’ that Girl X and Boy Y – both now 16 – were seen running away, or that they had discussed killing Brianna.

But both deny participating in the killing, jurors were told, instead blaming each other.

However Miss Heer said the prosecution case was that ‘whoever delivered the fatal blows, both defendants are equally guilty’.

‘Acting together, they planned and executed their plan to kill her,’ she added.

In the days before Brianna was stabbed, Miss Heer said the pair exchanged a string of messages referring to the schoolgirl as ‘it’ – with Girl X saying she was ‘obsessed’ with her.

When their first intended target blocked Instagram messages from Girl X, the pair are said to have 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’.

Their first plan was to lure Brianna to the park on January 28 – also a Saturday – on the pretext of using cocaine together, with Girl X writing: ‘Let’s stab her. Back and throat.’

However in the event, Brianna messaged to say she couldn’t come after all, with Girl X writing to Boy Y to say she was ‘f****** p****d’.

In a later message, she suggested she could kill Brianna by giving her an overdose of cocaine, but then told Boy X ‘let’s just stab her. It’s more fun.’

The pair then allegedly put in place their plan to persuade Brianna to meet them in the park on February 11.

After making new arrangements to meet Brianna on February 11 – on the false pretext of taking cocaine together – jurors were told that Girl X asked Boy Y about the knife he was bringing, questioning whether it would ‘definitely 100% kill her?’

He assured her that it would, replying: ‘Yes, it cuts my skin easily.’

Brianna – who was ‘anxious’ and rarely went out alone, according to her mother – left her home in Birchwood, near Warrington, Cheshire, at 12.45pm on February 11 and boarded a bus to Culcheth, buying a single child ticket.

She was wearing a short grey tartan skirt, long white socks and a fluffy white hooded jacket, and carrying a pink and white checked shoulder bag. She wore her hair long and was wearing glasses.

‘No doubt because of her distinctive appearance, people who saw her that day remembered her,’ Ms Heer said.

Brianna Ghey's mother Esther (left) arrives at Manchester Crown Court on Monday for the start of proceedings

Esther (middle) makes her way into the court on Monday for the first day of proceedings. The two teenagers on trial deny murder

Brianna Ghey's father Peter Spooner arriving at Manchester Crown Court on Monday

On the journey at about 1.41pm, Brianna sent her mother Esther a message reading: ‘I’m on the bus by myself, I’m scared.’

Her mother replied that it was ‘good’, jurors heard.

Boy Y – wearing a dark jacket with the hood up – had meanwhile been dropped off by his mother opposite a Sainsbury’s supermarket and met up with Girl X.

CCTV showed Boy Y buying a bottle of Coca-Cola while Girl X bought a bottle of Dr Pepper, it was said.

Girl X had set up a fake Snapchat account of a fictional drug dealer, jurors heard, swapping messages to make it appear they had arranged to meet.

Witnesses saw Brianna walking towards the linear park with Girl X and Boy Y after 2pm that day, the court heard.

Girl X was sending messages to and from the fictional drug dealer, named ‘Nathan’, Miss Heer said.

At 2.15pm Brianna sent a message to Girl X saying: ‘Girl, Ima wait where I am until we have drugs lol. I’m too anxious.’

Miss Heer said it showed that Brianna believed they were indeed meeting up to take drugs together – but also that it appeared she felt something was ‘amiss’.

At 2.30pm she sent a message to a friend, saying: ‘Girl X is so weird girl. I think she’s pretending to have a dealer.’

At 3.06pm, a message was sent from Brianna’s phone reading: ‘Girl where are you?’

Several seconds later, the Snapchat account records that Girl X deleted a chat.

Minutes later, a dog walker came across a bloodied Brianna lying face-down in the park, as two teenagers ran away.

Dog walker Mrs Vize called 999 at 3.13pm saying ‘somebody had been attacked and that she had seen the attackers run away’, jurors were told.

She told police a boy and girl in their teens had run away after seeing her.

The two defendants then separated and went home, Ms Heer said, but remained in contact through messages.

She said they kept each other informed of press reports about a body being found in the park while ‘feigning ignorance’ about what had happened.

Boy Y was also searching online for ways to combat anxiety, the court heard.

A handout photograph of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey, who died after being stabbed 28 times in February

Brianna was a pupil at Birchwood High School in Warrington

After arriving at his home just over an hour after Brianna was attacked, Boy Y sent Girl X a message reading: ‘So how’s your cat?’

‘Good lol,’ she replied. ‘How’s yours.’

‘It keeps trying to purr,’ Boy Y wrote.

At 5.25pm, Girl X messaged Boy Y saying: ‘My brother just told me not to [go to] linear park coz a woman got stabbed.’

Boy Y replied: ‘Jesus really.’

In a later message she informed Boy Y that a woman had been murdered, to which he responded: ‘Holy c**p.’

Shortly after 11pm that day, jurors were told Girl X sent Boy Y a message reading: ‘Do you have anxiety about getting caught?’

He replied ‘probably’, to which Girl X responded: ‘You’re not going to get caught don’t worry. Police are s**** here.’

Ms Heer said the following day, Girl X messaged Brianna’s phone saying: ‘Girl, is everything okay? 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 f***** up.’

‘The prosecution say that was an obvious attempt by girl X to set up a sort of false defence, were anybody to look at her phone in due course,’ Ms Heer said.

The court heard that a post mortem found Brianna had a number of injuries consistent with raising her arms and trying to defend herself from her attacker.

‘The number of wounds and the pattern of injuries, taken as a whole, suggests that Brianna was subjected to a sustained and violent assault with a knife,’ Ms Heer said.

She told the court bottles of soft drinks were found at the scene with DNA from Girl X and Boy Y on, indicating they had been present.

She said they remained together as they walked away from the park and were spotted on dashcam footage at 3.15pm.

When the area was searched by police, Brianna’s mobile phone was found hidden in a drain, the jury was told.

The court heard that when Girl X was arrested on the evening of the day after Brianna’s killing, police searching her home found notes about serial killers including Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez and Harold Shipman.

Earlier she had told her ‘shocked’ boyfriend about Brianna’s death, jurors were told, adding: ‘It’s going to be okay, I’m here for you baby xx.’

That afternoon, jurors were told Girl X’s mother had called police after her daughter told her she had been with Brianna shortly before her death.

‘Girl X was with her at the time she called the police and told the police operator that they had been sitting on a bench in the park when Brianna looked at her phone and said she needed to meet some boy, a 17-year-old from Manchester who was going to meet her in his car,’ Ms Heer said.

‘She said Brianna just stormed off and that was the last time she saw her.’

Girl X then messaged boy Y, repeating the story she had told police and telling him: ‘Make sure story adds up.’

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

Police forensics officers walk into the park to investigate in February 2022. Two teenagers deny a charge of murdering Brianna Ghey

At 6.25pm on February 12 Girl X posted a tribute on Snapchat, accompanied by a photograph of Brianna eating a chocolate bar.

It read: ‘Brianna was one of the best people I have ever met and such an amazing friend, its so f****** sickening what got done to her.’

Meanwhile Boy Y was searching on the Crown Prosecution Service website for penalties for supplying or withholding information, jurors heard.

The court heard both defendants were arrested at their homes at about 7.30pm on February 12.

Along with the handwritten plan to kill Brianna, another note found in Girl X’s bedroom read: ‘Give them alcohol with sleeping pills, slit throat, dismember body, place pieces in bin bags.’

After being cautioned, Girl X said: ‘Me being a suspect, is it cos I’m the last person to see her?’

Meanwhile Boy Y – who was also cautioned – told arresting officers: ‘I can explain.’

Girl X, who is from Warrington, has been found to have ‘traits of autism and ADHD’ since her arrest and showed ‘high levels of anxiety’, jurors were told.

Boy Y, who is from Leigh, Greater Manchester, had been diagnosed with autism, they were told, along with a ‘high level of social anxiety’.

As a result, the trial is being conducted with ‘more informality’ than normal, the trial judge, Mrs Justice Yip, told them, with both accused being helped to follow proceedings by ‘intermediaries’.

The trial continues.

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