Brianna Ghey’s killers unmasked: Serial killer-obsessed girl and boy Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe, both 16, are named as ‘warped’ duo with a ‘thirst for killing’ are sentenced to life in prison for the shocking murder of transgender schoolgirl

Brianna Ghey’s killers unmasked: Serial killer-obsessed girl and boy Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe, both 16, are named as ‘warped’ duo with a ‘thirst for killing’ are sentenced to life in prison for the shocking murder of transgender schoolgirl


The two serial killer-obsessed teenagers who savagely murdered Brianna Ghey have today been unmasked as Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe as they face life imprisonment at their sentencing hearing. 

Referred to as Girl X during her trial over the 16-year-old’s horrific stabbing, Jenkinson and Ratcliffe – a former champion kickboxer who was known as Boy Y – are being sentenced today in a televised hearing. 

Detectives fear the ‘warped’ duo with a ‘taste for killing’ may have moved onto another victim had they not been arrested barely 24 hours after they knifed the transgender schoolgirl to death.

The body of ‘timid’ Brianna was found lying face-down in the mud with 28 stab wounds after the ‘frenzied’ attack at a popular beauty spot in a Cheshire village on February 11 last year. 

Her twisted killers, described as a ‘danger to society’ by their victim’s mother, had planned the attack in great detail, with a handwritten note in Jenkinson’s room reading: ‘Saturday 11th February 2023. Victim: Brianna Ghey’.

They then desperately sought to cover their tracks, with Jenkinson posting a Snapchat tribute that called Brianna ‘such an amazing friend’ and ‘one of the best people I’ve ever met’.

On Friday morning Brianna’s mother Esther Ghey and her father Pete Spooner were pictured arriving at court, surrounded by friends and family, where they heard that Jenkinson has finally admitted she stabbed Brianna multiple times. 

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 Grey was stabbed 28 times with a hunting knife on February 11

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Jenkinson and Ratcliffe were both 15 when they stabbed Brianna 28 times in Culcheth Linear Park, Cheshire on February 11 last year.

They were still only 16 when they stood trial at Manchester Crown Court last November, meaning neither their names nor the schools they had attended could be published. They blamed one another for the brutal killing, but shortly before Christmas jurors took less than five hours to unanimously convict them both.

The following day, trial judge Mrs Justice Yip ruled that their identities should be revealed to help the public ‘understand how children could do something so dreadful’.

But after hearing the families of both killers had been subjected to death threats, she ruled that the media could not identify them until today’s sentencing hearing, enabling measures to be put in place to keep them safe.

As a packed courtroom today prepares to hear statements from Brianna’s parents and sister before Jenkinson and Ratcliffe learn how long they must spend behind bars, Mrs Justice Yip formally stripped them of their anonymity.

For the first time Jenkinson has admitted stabbing Brianna ‘a number of times’, having previously blamed all of the blows on her fellow killer Ratcliffe. 

The court heard she has told a forensic psychiatrist that she took the knife from him and stabbed Brianna repeatedly. She also admitted to giving Ratcliffe the ‘instruction’ to bring his hunting knife.

Jenkinson – who was obsessed with serial killers and their methods – planned to take ‘part of her flesh’ as a ‘token’, prosecutor Deanna Heer KC said.

She continued: ‘[Jenkinson]said Eddie had thrown Brianna to the floor and stabbed her three or four times then he panicked and said he did not want to kill her, so she carried on and stabbed her a number of times.

‘When asked how many, she answered, ‘A lot.’ She was satisfied and excited by what she was doing.’

Jenkinson told consultant Dr Richard Church that while Ratcliffe ‘didn’t like Brianna because she was trans’, her motivation was ‘quite different’, the court heard.

‘She had enjoyed thinking about the plan to kill Brianna, but her motivation for doing so was that she considered Brianna a friend and anticipated that Brianna was going to leave her and that she wanted to kill her so that she would always be with her,’ Mrs Heer added.

Meanwhile Ratcliffe has stuck to the version of events he gave in court, in which he said Jenkinson had inflicted all the stab wounds to Brianna while he was ‘urinating against a tree’. 

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Brianna’s mother said the ‘hardest’ thing about her daughter’s ordeal was finding out that one of her killers, Jenkinson, was ‘someone we believed to be her friend’.

She described Jenkinson as: ‘Someone that we trusted. Someone that I was so happy that [Brianna] had, fearing that my child had been lonely. Not knowing that this person had been planning, to not only cause harm, but to take the life of my precious child.’

She continued: ‘All I can think about is that she would have been scared and I wasn’t there for her. She needed me to protect her, Brianna wasn’t a fighter and she must have been so terrified.

‘The day of and the days following 11th of February were and always will be the worst days of my life. I felt like someone had killed part of me, like my heart had been ripped out. I have never felt such grief and I would never wish that pain on anyone else.’

Esther Ghey sat through almost every day of the harrowing trial of the two teenagers who murdered her daughter

Brianna's father Peter Spooner arriving at Manchester Crown Court today

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

Eddie Ratcliffe, 16, was 'genius' level smart and a 'sociopath' who friends deemed socially awkward, according to his female accomplice

It means that following extensive research and interviews with some of those who knew them best, as well as leading criminologists, MailOnline can reveal that:

  • Scarlett Jenkinson was raised in a loving, supportive home by her mother, who taught home economics and design technology at a Catholic secondary school, and plasterer father. 
  • By the time she was 12 it was ‘common knowledge’ at Culcheth High School that she had a ‘kill list’ of children who had taken a dislike to, trying to recruit other pupils to take part in ‘blood rituals’.
  • Jenkinson was expelled from the school – in the village where they would murder Brianna just weeks later – for trying to ‘poison’ a fellow pupil with cannabis sweets in October 2022.
  • She was moved to Birchwood High School and placed in the ‘inclusion unit’ where Brianna was taught because of her struggles with anxiety, becoming ‘obsessed’ with her by December 2022.
  • An independent child safeguarding review into Brianna’s murder is examining Jenkinson’s interaction with key agencies, including the police, social services and schools. 
  • Eddie Ratcliffe was a top set student at Culcheth High School and treated as a ‘role model’ at the time of the murder, preparing to sit nine GCSEs and aspiring to go to university to study microbiology. 
  • His mother is an award-winning graphic designer who created a mural for the NHS celebrating organ donation before launching herself as a wellness guru. 
  • Jenkinson picked the location for the killing as she regularly walked the family’s pet dog in the park, just a few minutes from their house – Ratcliffe had never been there before. 
  • By accessing the ‘dark web’ through her phone to search for images of real-life killings and torture, Jenkinson became desensitised murder and probably ‘damaged her psyche’, experts have told the Mail. 
  • Social media also propelled and accelerated the killers’ fantasies, leading to the brutal murder of Brianna in a relatively short period of time – just a few weeks after she came on their radar, they said.
  • According to a leading criminologist, the killers’ relationship was a classic ‘folie a deux’ – a shared madness or delusion typically found in couples who kill – comparable to Moor Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley , but unusually with them not being girlfriend and boyfriend. 

Esther Ghey also told the court Brianna had ‘plans for her future’ she will never be able to fulfill: ‘The fact that Brianna was taken from me in such a heinous way causes a pain that I struggle to describe. No parent should ever have to bury their child. She should have been around for the rest of my life. 

‘Brianna had plans for her future which we will never have the chance to support her with. She wanted to go to college and study beauty therapy; she was looking forward to being old enough to have a little job like her big sister. We had also discussed her learning to drive, and she had even picked out which pink car she would like for her 18th birthday.’ 

She described Jenkinson and Ratcliffe as a ‘danger to society’, adding: ‘The thought of Scarlett and Eddie being released from prison absolutely horrifies me. I don’t believe that someone who is so disturbed and obsessed with murder and torture would ever be able to be rehabilitated.’

Brianna’s father Peter Spooner added: ‘Being a father of a transgender child was a difficult thing to deal with. Without people accusing me of dead naming my child, most of my memories are with my son Brett. Our memories are engraved on my heart. He was funny, cheeky and would pull faces to make me laugh. He was my baby, my only Son and his decision to transition was such a brave and confident thing to do.

‘Even though I grieved the son I lost, I was proud to gain another beautiful daughter. Her appearance changed as she blossomed into a lovely young girl, her eyes were the same, she had my eyes when I looked at her. We were forming a new relationship and these two murderers have stolen that from us both.

‘I hate how Brianna’s life has been brutally taken away from her and she has been deprived of the life she wanted to live. She never had the chance to sit her exams or go onto further education.

‘Now my world has been torn apart, justice may have been done with the guilty verdicts, but no amount of time spent in prison will be enough for these monsters.

‘I cannot call them children as that makes them sound naïve or vulnerable which they are not, they are pure evil, Brianna was the vulnerable one.

‘They were determined to kill and never gave up until they had blood on their hands, my Brianna’s blood.

‘Not an ounce of remorse has been shown from these murderers, putting myself and my family through this awful trial having to hear the details about how Brianna suffered. It is unforgivable.’

The pair’s trial, which concluded days before Christmas, left the nation struggling to comprehend how two children from supportive, stable family backgrounds could have plotted and carried out the ‘savage’ and ‘vile’ killing.

After the trial judge allowed the media to name the ‘warped’ pair, it can now be revealed for the first time that Jenkinson met their ‘trusting’ victim when she was moved to the ‘inclusion unit’ for troubled children which Brianna attended. 

The decision to place them together – which came after Jenkinson was excluded from her school for passing drugs to fellow pupils, leaving one in hospital – happened just weeks before Brianna’s murder.

It is now the subject of an independent safeguarding review into whether local agencies could have done more to protect her.

Jenkinson had become fascinated by serial killers including Harold Shipman and Californian ‘Night Stalker’ Richard Ramirez, filling pages of notebooks with jottings about their methods and characters.

Follow every detail of the case on The Mail’s acclaimed podcast The Trial 

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The Trial…takes listeners behind the headlines and into the courtrooms of some of the biggest trials in the world.

The first series ‘The Trial of Lucy Letby’ was a global hit, with more than 13 million downloads, while season two focused on the murder of Ashling Murphy, a 23-year-old teacher from Ireland.

Its third season follows the tragic case of Brianna Ghey, a 16-year-old transgender girl killed in Warrington, England.

Follow the evidence as the jury hears it, in twice-weekly reports from The Daily Mail’s Northern Correspondent Liz Hull and broadcast journalist Caroline Cheetham.


Along with Ratcliffe, who was highly-intelligent but socially awkward, she drew up a ‘kill list’ of five potential targets before settling on slightly-built Brianna – who considered her a friend.

Brianna’s body was found lying face-down in the mud at a popular beauty spot in Culcheth shortly after 3pm on February 11 this year, having been hacked to death with appalling savagery.

She was left with ‘unsurvivable’ injuries with wounds penetrating her heart, both lungs and major blood vessels. She had been stabbed to the head, neck, back and chest.

Her jugular vein had also been severed, causing ‘catastrophic blood loss’, while another knife blow penetrated Brianna’s heart. The teen was pronounced dead at the scene at 4.02pm. 

While in real life, Brianna suffered from anxiety, didn’t like to go out on her own and only had a small circle of friends, in the virtual world she was on the way to becoming a social media star. 

Her TikTok videos showing her styling her hair or lip-synching to pop songs had earned her 30,000 followers, many of them fellow transgender teenagers who saw her as an inspiration.

According to her mother, Brianna was ‘larger than life’, ‘funny and witty’ and ‘usually fearless’. 

Brianna’s headteacher described her as ‘iconic’, adding: ‘She was such a huge character in school. Everyone knew who she was and losing her has hit everybody so hard.’

Her brutal and apparently inexplicable killing – on a Saturday afternoon, in a former railway cutting popular with dog walkers – caused waves of outrage and revulsion far beyond her home town of Warrington.

Prosecutors argued Ratcliffe and Jenkinson were ‘in it together’ from start to finish, right from planning the attack to attempting to cover their tracks afterwards.

In the days that followed, a string of vigils were held across the globe for people to come together and express their grief.

Cheshire Police faced public pressure to treat Brianna’s brutal killing as a hate crime.

But within 24 hours, detectives had been told about Jenkinson, a local girl who Brianna regarded as a good friend.

Ratcliffe’s arrest soon followed as both had been seen with her in the village of Culcheth that afternoon. 

Both intelligent and ‘high functioning’, her killers – neither of whom had been in trouble with police before – secretly shared a fascination for violence, torture and murder. 

Messages recovered from Jenkinson’s phone revealed she and Ratcliffe had drawn up a ‘kill list’ naming five teenagers they wanted to murder over the preceding weeks.

Today Eddie Ratcliffe, a former champion kickboxer, can be revealed as Boy Y

Forensic officers carrying equipment through Culcheth Linear Park on February 13 - two days after Brianna was killed

Brianna on her final bus journey to Culcheth before she was found stabbed to death in Linear Park

Ratcliffe tried to claim he was just 'playing along' with a 'fantasy' dreamt up by Jenkinson

While Jenkinson was ‘obsessed’ with Brianna, Ratcliffe had never met her before the day of the murder.

His messages were littered with cruel references to Brianna as ‘it’ and dehumanising language.

After a teenage boy they wanted to kill ‘smelt a rat’, the WhatsApp chats showed how they turned their attention to Brianna.

Ratcliffe sent a message to Jenkinson saying ‘yeah, it’ll be easier and I want to see if it will scream like a man or a girl’.

Why were Brianna’s teen killers allowed to be named? How Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe join James Bulger’s child killers and ‘evil’ stepbrother of Logan Mwangi to be unmasked to the public

Children appearing in youth or crown courts in England and Wales, whether as a victim, witness or defendant, generally cannot be identified if they are under the age of 18.

However, anonymity orders can be – and often are – lifted by judges after under-18s have been convicted of serious crimes if it is considered to be in the public interest.

The most infamous examples are Jon Venables and Robert Thompson who were 11 when they were convicted of abducting, torturing and murdering two-year-old James Bulger in Merseyside the year before, in 1993.

However in 2001, shortly after they turned 18, the High Court made an injunction preventing the media from publishing their new identities, effectively granting them lifelong anonymity.

More recently, schoolboy Will Cornick was named after he stabbed to death teacher Ann Maguire, 61, as she taught a class at Corpus Christi Catholic College, Leeds, in 2014 when he was just 15.

Jailing Cornick for at least 20 years, Mr Justice Coulson, said lifting his anonymity would have a ‘a clear deterrent effect’.

He added: ‘Ill-informed commentators may scoff, but those of us involved in the criminal justice system know that deterrence will almost always be a factor in the naming of those involved in offences such as this.’

Other examples include 15-year-old Leighton Amies, who stabbed 14-year-old Tomasz Oleszak to death in a Gateshead nature park in 2022, and 14-year-old Craig Mulligan who murdered his five-year-old step-brother Logan Mwangi.


Their trial was told it was ‘difficult to fathom’ how two children could carry out such a disturbing crime. After being caught, the killers blamed each other.

But the prosecution successfully argued it was a case of joint enterprise. 

Their planning and botched efforts to cover their tracks meant both were guilty of murder, regardless of whether one or both wielded the knife, they told jurors.

After they were found guilty, Brianna’s mother Esther spoke of the terror Brianna would have felt when they turned on her out of the blue.

‘To now know how scared my usually fearless child must have been when she was alone in the park with someone that she called her friend will haunt me forever,’ the 37-year-old food technologist said.

Ms Ghey, who selflessly responded to Brianna’s brutal murder by launching a campaign in her daughter’s name to teach empathy and compassion in schools, said there had been moments when she ‘felt sorry’ for her killers who had ‘ruined their own lives as well as ours’.

‘But now knowing the true nature of the two and seeing neither display an ounce of remorse for what they have done to Brianna, I have lost any sympathy that I previously had for them, and I am glad that they will spend many years in prison and away from society,’ she added.

Outside court Brianna’s father, Peter Spooner, 42, who is separated from Ms Ghey, said: ‘I hate how her life has been brutally taken away from her and she has been deprived of the life she wanted to live.

‘It’s difficult to comprehend how some people can do these vile things in the world and don’t understand how cruel and heartbreaking their actions can be.

‘The suffering from this horrific incident should never happen and I hope no other family ever experiences the torture this can bring.’

Following their conviction in December, Detective Superintendent Mike Evans, head of Cheshire CID, branded the murderous pair ‘two very warped individuals’ who had demonstrated ‘a thirst for killing’.

He added that there were ‘not many murders where you get from plan to execution almost documented word for word’.

Asked whether he believed they could have claimed more victims had they not been caught so quickly, Det Supt Evans replied: ‘They did not seem particularly bothered by what they had done which maybe leads to the fact that there could have been, but God knows.’

‘As to who did what, I am not sure we will ever know,’ Det Supt Evans said afterwards.

He said Brianna was targeted due to her ‘trusting’ nature rather than out of ‘hatred or ill-feeling’. 

‘If it was not Brianna, it would have been one of the other four children on the list.’

A crumpled handwritten note was found in Jenkinson’s bedroom headed ‘Saturday 11th February 2023. Victim: Brianna Ghey’.

In the damning murder plan – an image of which she had sent Ratcliffe – she had written: ‘He stabs her in the back as I stab her in the stomach.’

The prosecution claimed that the ferocity of the wounds – inflicted using a 5in hunting knife which the trial heard Ratcliffe’s parents bought him during a skiing trip the previous month – and their locations suggested Ratcliffe had done exactly that.

A separate wound in Brianna’s stomach area could have been inflicted by Jenkinson as she lay dying, Deanna Heer KC claimed.

But following their convictions, Det Supt Evans said: ‘As to who did what, I am not sure we will ever know.’ 

Jenkinson posted an online tribute (pictured) to Brianna the day after she died

The note - headed ¿Saturday 11th February 2023. Victim: Brianna Ghey¿ - was found alongside jottings about serial killers including Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez and Harold Shipman

Photos of Ratcliffe show an innocent-looking child enjoying a seemingly ordinary upbringing, complete days out with his family

Brianna 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'

The victim's mother Esther (middle) makes her way into the court during the first day of the trail on November 27

The killers’ messages led investigators to believe plot was not driven primarily by a hatred of Brianna’s transgender identity. 

As to why they targeted her, the senior detective said he believed it was down to how her ‘trusting’ nature made her particularly ‘vulnerable’ to the pair’s plotting.

‘I don’t think this was a case of hatred or ill-feeling,’ he said.

‘If it was not Brianna, it would have been one of the other four children on the list.

‘It is just Brianna was the one who was accessible at that time and because the focus of those desires.’

Acknowledging that Ratcliffe used ‘dehumanising and transphobic’ language, he highlighted how by contrast Jenkinson was ‘admiring and almost obsessed with Brianna’.

As a result, he sticks by his belief that ‘Brianna was not killed because she was transgender’.

Questioned whether they killed her ‘for fun’, Det Supt Evans replied: ‘They killed because they wanted to prove that they could and they had a thirst for killing.

‘Maybe enjoyment is the right word.’

Det Supt Mike Evans, head of Cheshire CID

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

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

Police forensics officers walk into the park in Warrington to investigate in February 2022

But the ‘really intelligent and quite high functioning’ pair exhibited an ‘arrogance’ that ‘they would not get caught’, Det Supt added.

He slammed the killers’ ‘cowardice’ in subjecting Brianna’s family to a trial in which her terrifying final moments had to be picked over when there was ‘significant evidence’ against them.

Ursula Doyle, deputy chief prosecutor for Merseyside and Cheshire CPS, said the messages the pair exchanged had made ‘difficult reading’ and branded the plot to kill Brianna ‘absolutely shocking’.

‘Often messages need to be interpreted to find out what they mean, but these did not need to be interpreted, they were explicit and that is unusual,’ she said.

‘Their planning, the messages, the way they tried to cover up their offending all showed an arrogance.’

The trial heard Brianna had been bullied at Birchwood Community High School.

But her headteacher, Emma Mills, has said there was ‘never any evidence’ of this, either in or out of school.

‘Brianna was very much able to give as good as she got in that way,’ she told the BBC.

‘And I think what was really hard was that she was portrayed in the media as a victim and she didn’t live her life as a victim.’

James Tozer

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