BRIANNA Ghey, a 16-year-old girl who was murdered almost one year ago, was a transgender young girl, with today’s sentencing of her killers discussing this fact.

Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Radcliffe, both 16, have been named at the sentencing at Manchester Crown Court today, as Justice Yip decided the minimum time the pair will spend in prison.

The pair were both sentenced to life in prison, with Jenkinson receiving a minimum of 22 years, and Radcliffe a minimum of 20. 

Whilst there has been a great deal of national discussion around whether the murder was motivated by Brianna being transgender, this has been omitted from court discussions until today.

Warrington Guardian:

This is because, whilst an important factor in the case, the motivations of the pair were irrelevant to whether or not they were guilty or not guilty. Whilst the case could have been tried as a ‘hate crime’, murder carries a guaranteed sentence of life in prison.

Whether they were motivated by Brianna being transgender is what is referred to as an ‘aggravating factor’. When deciding on a sentence, judges will work within a pre-agreed range for the offence, with the ‘aggravating’ and ‘mitigating’ factors moving their sentence up or down the range.

In the case of Jenkinson and Radcliffe, they were guaranteed to be sentenced to a life sentence, with the debate in court today focused on the minimum terms they will serve.

If the pair were judged to have murdered Brianna because she was transgender, this would be a significant aggravating factor.

Justice Yip, summarising the case, decided that transphobia did indeed play a part in the murderous pair's motivation. 

She said: "The question is if the murder was in part motivated by hostility towards Brianna as she was transgender.

"Scarlett, I have concluded your primary motive was your deep desire to kill.

"You enjoyed the killing. This was a murder involving sadistic conduct.

"Although Eddie your motives are not the same, you understand her desire to see Brianna suffer and participated knowing these sadistic motives.

Warrington Guardian: Justice YipJustice Yip (Image: Supplied)

"I find also that you Eddie were motivated in part by Brianna being transgender, dehumanising her by referring to her as ‘it’ and wanting to see if she screamed like a man or a girl.

"You both took park in a brutal and planned murder which was sadistic in nature and motivated by her transgender identity.

"I have taken into account the brutality of the killing and the use of the knife, as well as the sadistic motive and transphobic element."

The first hint that this may have played a role in their murder plot is in texts read out during the trial in which they referred to Brianna as ‘tranny’, ‘it, and wondered whether ‘she would scream like a man or a girl’.

In today’s sentencing, statements implied that Ratcliffe, previously referred to as Boy Y, ‘didn’t like Brianna as she was trans’.

Warrington Guardian: Eddie Ratcliffe, previously known as Boy YEddie Ratcliffe, previously known as Boy Y (Image: Cheshire Police)

For an offence to be aggravated by transgender hatred, the court must be satisfied during the incident the offender demonstrated hospitality to the victim being transgender, and they are aware of such.

There is no evidence of this in this case, Ms Heer, prosecuting, said earlier today.

This may also apply if the offence was wholly or partly motivated by hostility to someone because they are transgender. Justice Yip says to a lay person, the first aspect may apply, but says it must be expressed at the time.

Although Jenkinson did not use language to that extent, it can be inferred, the prosecution say, she encouraged Ratcliffe as his transphobic attitudes made it more likely he would do so.”

In Jenkinson’s defence argument, Mr Pratt said: “It has been fairly put that Ratcliffe expressed himself in the language of transphobia.

“All we can say is that it did not apparently form part of her thinking, even during the course of making very harmful admissions against herself, she maintained she was not that person.”

This was not accepted by Justice Yip, who decided that transphobia played an undeniable element in Ratcliffe's involvement in the murder. 

Warrington Guardian: Brianna (left) and Esther Ghey (right)Brianna (left) and Esther Ghey (right) (Image: Cheshire Police)

This was acknowledged in the victim impact statement made by Esther Ghey, Brianna’s Mother. She said: “I have moments where I feel sorry for them, because they have also ruined their own lives, but I have to remember that they felt no empathy for Brianna when they left her bleeding to death after their premeditated and vicious attack, which was carried out not because Brianna had done anything wrong, but just because one hated trans people and the other thought it would be fun.”

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), concluded in their statement following the life sentence's being handed out that transphobia was an inextricable fact of the fact. 

A spokesperson for the CPS said: "This sentencing hearing concludes one of the most disturbing cases that the CPS has had to deal with.

“At just 16, Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe are convicted killers, responsible for the brutal murder of a young girl who thought they were friends.

Warrington Guardian: Scarlett JenkinsonScarlett Jenkinson (Image: PA)

“The planning, violence and the age of the killers is beyond belief. The two appear to have had a deadly influence on each other and turned what may have started out as dark fantasies about murder into a reality.

“The messages between the two provided a terrifying insight into the warped desires and fantasies of the two defendants. However, they also provided us with the motivation behind the attack, the plans and then the attempts to cover it up.

“The Crown Prosecution Service presented all the evidence in this case for the jury to consider, including the hateful and dehumanising language used to describe Brianna.

“We applied to the Judge for an increase in the defendants’ sentences because we believed this 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.

“Today’s sentence reflects the brutality of two killers’ heartless crime – and while it cannot erase the pain of Brianna’s loss, we hope it brings some closure.

“The Crown Prosecution Service would again like to thank Brianna’s family for the courage and dignity they have shown throughout the proceedings and our thoughts and sympathies remain with them at this difficult time.”