11 April 2024

Inquest to examine why Brianna’s killer was put in same school

11 April 2024

A “sadistic” killer’s placement in a classroom alongside vulnerable trans teenager Brianna Ghey will be investigated at the inquest into her death, a court has heard.

Brianna, 16, was lured to a park by schoolmate Scarlett Jenkinson and her friend Eddie Ratcliffe, both 15 at the time, where she was stabbed 28 times with a hunting knife on February 11 last year.

Both killers were jailed for life earlier this year with trial judge Mrs Justice Yip ruling the “frenzied” and “brutal” murder had elements of sadism, with a secondary motive being the victim’s trans identity.

Brianna had been a pupil at Birchwood High School, Warrington, where she was befriended by Jenkinson after she had transferred from Culcheth High School following an incident where pupils were given cannabis-laced sweets.

Following her “managed transfer” from Culcheth, where Ratcliffe was a pupil, within weeks Jenkinson became obsessed by Brianna and began plotting her murder with Ratcliffe.

From age 14, Jenkinson had enjoyed watching videos of real killing and torture on the dark web, fantasised about murder and developed an interest in serial killers, her murder trial heard.

At a pre-inquest hearing at Warrington Coroner’s Court on Thursday, Jacqueline Devonish, senior coroner for Cheshire, outlined the scope of the inquest later this year, before lawyers representing both schools and children’s services at Warrington Borough Council. Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, also attended the hearing.

Ms Devonish said: “I think essentially, matters around safeguarding that we are going to be concerned with.

“How it is Brianna was brought into contact with Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe.

“In my view, that’s the starting point, and we know that the schools will have information around that, and that’s where we are going with this investigation.

“Whether it could reasonably have been foreseen that Brianna might have been placed at risk in the inclusion room with Scarlett Jenkinson.

Whether it could reasonably have been foreseen that Brianna might have been placed at risk in the inclusion room with Scarlett Jenkinson

“Whether Birchwood High School was appropriately placed to manage Brianna and Scarlett Jenkinson together in light of their histories and safeguarding considerations.”

Ms Devonish said the inquest will examine the “appropriateness or thoroughness” of the decision around the school transfer, along with Brianna’s behaviour and mental health.

The coroner also said she will also examine whether Brianna was appropriately supported by relevant agencies involved with supporting people with issues of gender, eating disorders and mental health.

Agencies named at the hearing included the Gender GP counselling service and the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS).

A further pre-inquest review will be held on August 9, before a full three-day inquest starting later this year on October 23.

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