The names of the two teenagers who murdered 16-year-old Brianna Ghey will be made public for the first time today as they are sentenced for the killing.
The two 16-year-olds have been referred to only as girl X and boy Y throughout the court proceedings because of a court order preventing their identification as they remain juveniles in the eyes of the law.
Brianna was stabbed to death in a “sustained and violent assault” with a hunting knife in a park in Culcheth near Warrington on a Saturday afternoon last February.
The trial heard her murderers had a “thirst for killing” and a fascination with violence, torture and murder. For weeks they had exchanged messages about killing people and a detailed plan for Brianna’s murder.
The pair had drawn up a kill list of four other teenagers in addition to Brianna. At their trial and in police interviews, they blamed each other for the killing.
Following their conviction, Brianna’s mother Esther Ghey said: “To now know how scared my usually fearless child must have been when she was alone in the park with someone that she called her friend will haunt me forever.
“I am glad that they will spend many years in prison and away from society.”
She described Brianna as “funny, witty and fearless” with amazing talent.
Police and prosecutors do not believe she was targeted by the pair because she identified as transgender.
Lawyers for girl X and boy Y had argued against lifting the restrictions on naming them because of the risks to their welfare and the impact on their families. The girl’s family has received death threats.
But the judge pointed out that both will turn 18 next year and the order banning their identification would automatically expire at that point. It was, Mrs Justice Yip said, inevitable their names would become known.
In lifting the order now, the judge, who described the killing of Brianna as “a particularly brutal murder”, said: “There is a strong public interest in the full and unrestricted reporting of what is plainly an exceptional case.
“The public will naturally wish to know the identities of the young people responsible as they seek to understand how children could do something so dreadful.”
It is unusual for courts to lift restrictions on naming juveniles.
Judges must weigh up the potential for harm to the child against the principle of open justice and letting the public know as much as possible about what happened.