Brianna Ghey’s mother Esther paid emotional tribute to her ‘unique and joyful’ daughter at a vigil marking one year since the trans teenager’s murder.
Brianna Ghey was 16 years old when she was stabbed to death by two teenagers, recently named as Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe, in Culcheth Linear Park in Warrington, Cheshire on 11 February 2023.
In the year since, her killers have been found guilty of murder, while the LGBTQ+ community and allies across the UK have joined together to mourn her death and call for increased protection for trans and non-binary people as hate crime figures continue to rise.
Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, appeared at a vigil outside Warrington’s Golden Square Shopping Centre on Sunday (11 February) alongside Brianna’s friends and family, to pay tribute to the “unique and joyful” teenager a year after her death.
“I will be forever thankful that I was able to spend 16 years with Brianna, she taught me so much and gave me so much peace and love,” Esther told the crowd.
Esther Ghey, mother of Brianna Ghey, speaks at a vigil to mark the one year anniversary of Brianna’s death (Ryan Jenkinson/Getty)
“If there was one piece of advice I could give to any parent, it would be to hold your kids tight and never stop telling them that you love them.”
A two-minute silence was observed at the vigil, while Brianna’s friends spoke about their memories of the teen.
Brianna Ghey’s killers, both aged 16, were named earlier this month by Mrs Justice Yip after the anonymity order that prevented the media from revealing their identities was lifted given the serious nature of their crimes.
Scarlett Jenkinson was sentenced to life with a minimum of 22 years, and Eddie Ratcliffe to life with a minimum of 20 years, with Justice Yip noting that the murder was “sadistic in nature” and motivated by “hostility towards Brianna because of her transgender identity”.
Since Brianna’s death, Esther Ghey has campaigned for mental health awareness and mindfulness, and has also called for social media apps to be banned for under-16s, claiming that certain harmful key words should be flagged to parents.
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Esther said: “We’d like a law introduced so that there are mobile phones that are only suitable for under-16s.
“Also to have software that is automatically downloaded on the parents’ phone which links to the children’s phone, that can highlight key words.
“So if a child is searching the kind of words that Scarlett and Eddie were searching, it will then flag up on the parent’s phone.”
She added that if the searches her daughter’s killers had made had been flagged, their parents may have been able to get them “some kind of help”.