Brianna Ghey: Friends of teenager tell vigil they 'love her' on anniversary of murder

ITV Granada's Jennifer Buck reports from the vigil in Warrington

Friends of the murdered teenager Brianna Ghey say the memory of the girl they loved to "heaven and back" will stay with them forever.

They spoke and sang movingly at a vigil, held in her hometown of Warrington, one year on from her death.

Brianna was murdered in a park by two 15-year-olds who, a judge ruled, were motivated by sadism and transphobic hate.

The teenager's close friend Emily Holden told a crowd in the town's Golden Square about all the life events she wished she could have shared with Brianna.

"You have had so many things to celebrate this year," she said.

"Your 17th birthday, leaving school, prom - which we all know that you would have had the pinkest and sparkliest dress ever.

"We also know that you’d be TikTok or Instagram famous by now. Having to know this, knowing that you never had the chance to do this, pains us all massively.

"Not a day goes by that we don't think about you. Your memory and legacy will stay with us forever. We all adore you, Brianna."

The continuing "shock" of seeing their friend's face appearing in news articles was relayed to those gathered by Lucie Finchett.

"Since you were taken from us - I have laughed, cried, grieved and felt grateful," she said.

"There are times where I’ve laughed at memories of us in school... or when we dyed my hair."

"It wasn't ginger enough, so we had to go back to Birchwood the next day in Barbie pyjamas and buy more."

The teenager was murdered in a park near Warrington in February last year. Credit: Family handout

Ms Finchett added: "There have been nights where I have sobbed for no reason at all, other than sadness and the feeling that there is something wrong.

"I have sat and not let tears fall from my eyes because I know you would want more than for people to just sit and cry."

Brianna's mother also spoke at the vigil - despite fearing she would not be able to find the strength to.

Esther Ghey told those celebrating her daughter's life that hearing the words of Brianna's friends "pushed" her to pay tribute in person.

“I will be forever thankful that I was lucky enough to spend 16 years with her," said Ms Ghey.

Esther Ghey watched the vigil from the side of the stage before deciding to speak herself. Credit: PA Media

“If there’s one piece of advice that I can give to any parent, it would be to hold your children tight, and never stop telling them that that you love them.

“I want to thank you all for coming here today to pay respect to Brianna.

"I hope that wherever she is now that she can feel the love that we’ve created by joining together today.”

At the vigil's end, the crowd stood in silence while holding their phone torches in the air.

The crowd held their phone torches aloft during a two-minute silence for Brianna. Credit: PA Media

The 16-year-old was murdered by teenagers Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe in Culcheth Linear Park.

They jailed for life earlier this month with Jenkinson to serve a minimum of 22 years, before being eligible for parole, and Ratcliffe at least 20 years.

The judge warned both killers they may never be freed if parole board officials still consider them to be a danger to the public.

How could two seemingly ‘innocent’ teenagers became killers, concocting a kill list, luring Brianna into a park and stabbing her, in a "frenzied and ferocious" attack, 28 times?