U.K. police said on Wednesday that two teenagers have been charged with the weekend murder of a 16-year-old transgender girl, in a case that has drawn national concern.
Brianna Ghey was fatally stabbed in Warrington, northwest England, on Saturday. Members of the public found her on a path in a park that afternoon.
Cheshire Police arrested two 15-year-olds, a boy and a girl, from nearby Leigh, on Sunday and on Wednesday charged them with her murder. They were to appear at Chester Magistrates’ Court later in the day.
The force had previously said it was exploring whether Ghey was the victim of an anti-transgender hate crime.
“Brianna deserved a chance to become a beautiful adult woman, and to live to see a world where trans people are safe and respected,” lawmaker Nadia Whittome tweeted on Sunday.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mike Evans previously said: “I would ask anyone who has any information, no matter how big or small, that they believe could help with our investigation to get in touch.”
The case has prompted candle-lit vigils across the country — including in nearby Liverpool on Tuesday evening — in memory of Ghey, who had a large following on social media site TikTok.
Further events organized by the transgender community were due to be held in London, Glasgow, Leeds and Belfast over the coming days.
A GoFundMe crowd-funding page supporting Ghey’s family has already topped $91,000, one day after it was set up.
In a tribute issued after her death, her family said the teenager was a “much-loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister.”
The statement added: “Brianna was beautiful, witty and hilarious. Brianna was strong, fearless and one of a kind.
“The loss of her young life has left a massive hole in our family, and we know that the teachers and her friends who were involved in her life will feel the same.”
Data from the non-profit Everytown for Gun Safety found that the murders of transgender people nearly doubled from 2017 to 2021 in the U.S. In 2021, 56 transgender people were killed in the U.S., a 93% increase from 2017.