TWO youths accused of murdering Brianna Ghey had a ‘preoccupation with violence, torture and death’, a jury was told.

The trial of two 16-year-olds – referred to as girl X and boy Y – from Warrington and Leigh respectively, began at Manchester Crown Square Crown Court today, Monday.

The body of transgender teenager Brianna, a 16-year-old Birchwood High School pupil, was discovered by dog walkers in Culcheth Linear Park, the court heard.

Opening the trial, Deanna Heer, prosecuting, said at about 3pm on February 11, a husband and wife were walking their dogs in the park when they saw a male and female on the path ahead of them.

Ms Heer said: “She saw the male bend down, bending over, as if to tend to a dog, before both he and the female left the path and made their way into an adjacent field, breaking into a run as they did so.

“As they continued along the path, they discovered that it was not a dog that the male had been bending over, but the bloodied body of a young woman lying face down in the mud.”

Ms Heer told the court the body was that of Brianna, who had been stabbed 28 times to the head and neck and to the back and chest in a “sustained and violent assault”.

Ms Heer said there was no dispute that the male and female seen running away from Brianna’s body were the two defendants – girl X and boy Y.

She added: “Nor is there any dispute that in the days and weeks leading up to that day, they had discussed killing her.

“Indeed, it is accepted that Brianna Ghey was killed with a knife that belonged to boy Y, a knife which he told girl X he would be bringing with him that day and which he said was sharp enough to kill her.”

The jury was told each defendant denied murder and denied participating in killing Brianna, with Ms Heer stating: “Each blames the other.

“The prosecution case is that, whoever it was who delivered the fatal blow or blows, both defendants are equally guilty.

St Helens Star: Police at the scene in Culcheth Linear ParkPolice at the scene in Culcheth Linear Park (Image: Warrington Guardian)

“Acting together, they planned and executed their plan to kill Brianna Ghey.”

Ms Heer said messages recovered from the phones of girl X and boy Y showed a ‘preoccupation with violence, torture and death’, and recorded them discussing how they wanted to kill people they knew.

She said: “If that was not an unusual way for two teenagers to speak to one another, the messages demonstrate also how, over time, they encouraged one another to think about how they would actually carry out a killing, and the messages show how they planned together to kill Brianna in just the way that she was in fact killed.”

In November 2022, they discussed killing a child referred to as boy M, the court heard.

In one message, jurors were told, girl X said: “If I do end up killing boy M, I have a really sharp blade, the same one that Sweeney Todd uses.

“If we kill boy M can I keep some things, a couple of teeth and an eye.”

In early December, girl X sent boy Y a video which was apparently an advert for an underground site for people who like rape, snuff, torture and murder, Ms Heer told the court.

Girl X told boy Y: “I love watching torture vids. Real ones on the dark web”, the jury heard.

The court heard on January 1, boy Y sent girl X a photo of a hunting knife and told her: “Spent my money. I bought a knife.”

Ms Heer said: “It was this knife, members of the jury, that was to be used to kill Brianna Ghey just six weeks after this image had been sent.”

The court was told in December last year girl X messaged boy Y telling him she was “obsessed over someone” called Brianna but didn’t have feelings for them.

Ms Heer said that on January 23, girl X messaged boy Y telling him she had given Brianna tablets that “should have been enough to kill her”.

St Helens Star: The trial is taking place at Manchester Crown Square Crown CourtThe trial is taking place at Manchester Crown Square Crown Court (Image: Warrington Guardian)

Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, recalled her daughter had been sick around that time, the court heard.

Ms Heer told jurors that girl X claimed to have killed two people in messages to boy Y, but there was no evidence she had.

She said they spoke in messages about other people they wanted to kill, and by January 26 had compiled a list of at least four people, as well as Brianna.

The court heard girl X created a fake Instagram account to contact one of their targets, referred to as boy E, but it was blocked.

In a message read to the court, girl X told boy Y: “If we can’t get boy E tomorrow we can kill Brianna.”

Boy Y replied, the jury was told, saying: “Yeah, it’ll be easier and I want to see if it will scream like a man or a girl.”

The pair discussed meeting Brianna and killing her at Culcheth Linear Park the following day, the court heard.

In one message, the trial heard, girl X said: “I want to stab her at least once even if she’s dead jus coz its fun lol.”

Ms Heer said girl X and boy Y did meet each other in Culcheth on January 28, but girl X told him Brianna said she couldn’t come.

The trial continues, with the rest of the prosecution opening to be heard tomorrow morning, Tuesday.

Cheshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service remind everyone 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.

Due to their age, reporting restrictions are in place for both defendants, entitling them to anonymity, as well as other children involved in the evidence.