A YOUTH has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Brianna Ghey in Culcheth.

Brianna, a 16-year-old transgender schoolgirl from Birchwood, was found on a path at Culcheth Linear Park with multiple stab wounds on Saturday, February 11.

The Birchwood High School pupil was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

Two suspects, a 16-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy, were arrested in connection with the incident.

The pair, who cannot be named or identified due to legal reasons, were later charged with her murder.

Both appeared in person before Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court this afternoon, Thursday, for a hearing.

One of the defendants, whose identity cannot be revealed due to a court order, confirmed their identity to the court.

When asked what their plea was on the charge of the murder of Brianna Ghey on February 11 this year, they entered a not guilty plea.

The second defendant, who again cannot be identified, confirmed their identity and are due to be arraigned and enter a plea at a later date due to legal reasons.

Reporting restrictions prevent the identification of which of the defendants entered the plea.

A trial date has already been set for November 27 at Manchester Crown Square Crown Court, and this trial date is expected to remain fixed.

As well as the entering of a plea, the hearing today allowed for case management to ensure the trial is able to proceed on track and as expected in November.

The girl, from Warrington, and the boy, from Leigh, are both currently held in secure accommodation.

Justice Amanda Yip, presiding over the case, said: “It is very important that this trial, when it happens, proceeds fairly.

“This is important for the defendants, but also for Brianna’s family, that a fair trial happens.

“It is a case where a lot of emotions will run high, which is very understandable.

“There has been a lot of publicity about this case already. We are going to make sure the case proceeds in a calm manner in court and is entirely fair for everyone.

“We have to ensure when the jury comes to trial, they do so where they are able to judge just on the evidence. It is really important to protect that for everyone concerned with the case.”

In the wake of Brianna's death, vigils were organised across the country in her memory, while money was raised to support Brianna's family, which totalled more than £100,000.

She was laid to rest in March, with hundreds of mourners attending her funeral at St Elphin's Parish Church.

The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against both defendants are active, and that they have the right to a fair trial.

It is extremely important that there should be no commenting or sharing of information or speculation which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.