Brianna Ghey murder trial as two teens appear in Liverpool Crown Court
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Two teenagers appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday accused of the murder of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey in Warrington.
Transgender schoolgirl Brianna was found by members of the public with fatal stab wounds as she lay on a path in Culcheth Linear Park on Saturday. Emergency services were called but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Brianna’s family described her as ‘strong, fearless and one of a kind’ and said she was ‘a much loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister’.
A 15-year-old girl from Warrington and a 15-year-old boy from Leigh were arrested by Cheshire Police on Sunday and were subsequently charged with her murder.
The two defendants, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, appeared in Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday via video link from youth detention accommodation.
During the 25 minute hearing the mothers of both defendants were crying and the girl’s parents left the courtroom, which was crowded with media representatives, in tears.
The teenagers, both wearing dark clothing, only spoke to confirm their names and dates of birth and sat during the hearing each separately accompanied by a member of the detention centre staff.
Cheryl Mottram, prosecuting, said that July 10 is the date chosen for their trial, which is estimated to last three weeks. She said witnesses include three 15-year-olds and directions were made by Judge David Aubrey, KC, about their evidence.
The defendants were both further remanded to the youth detention accommodation to next appear at the court on May 2 when they are due to enter their pleas. No applications were made for bail today.
Judge Aubrey told the teenagers, who showed no reaction during the hearing, that it was possible some of the dates fixed by the court may alter as the trial judge has yet to be chosen.
Detectives investigating the case initially said there was no evidence Brianna’s murder was hate related but on Tuesday Cheshire Police said all lines of inquiry were now ‘being explored’.
Hundreds of people have attended candlelit vigils for Brianna in cities across the UK this week. In Liverpool, members of the transgender community organised a gathering outside St George’s Hall.
In a statement, Brianna’s family said: “She was a larger than life character who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her. Brianna was beautiful, witty and hilarious.
“The loss of her young life has left a massive hole in our family, and we know that the teachers and her friends who were involved in her life will feel the same.
“We would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support during this extremely difficult time. We would like to thank the police for their support, and witnesses for helping with the investigation.”