One of two teenagers accused of murdering 16-year-old transgender student Brianna Ghey has pleaded not guilty.
The Warrington teen, described as a “much-loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister”, died after she was found with fatal stab wounds in Culcheth Linear Park, Cheshire on 11 February.
Shortly after the incident, police said they would be investigating Ghey’s death as a potential hate crime. Days after, two 16-year-olds, a boy and a girl who cannot be named for legal reasons, were charged with her murder.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester on Thursday (20 July), one of the defendants entered the plea not guilty, the BBC reported.
The other defendant did not enter a plea.
Justice Yip told the court: “It’s a case in which I know emotions are likely to run high, that’s very understandable. There has been a lot of publicity about it already.
“We’re going to make sure that this case proceeds in a calm manner in court in a way that is going to be entirely fair to everybody.”
A further hearing will be held on 4 October, while a trial has been set for 27 November, and is expected to last three weeks.
Thousands of people attended candlelit vigils across the UK in the weeks following Brianna Ghey’s death, leaving flowers and lighting candles in memory of the teen.
Supporters were also seen holding and laying signs supporting the LGBTQ+ community, including ones reading “protect trans youth” and “rest in power”.
In a tribute at her funeral, Ghey’s classmates described the teen as a “true one-off, unique and truly unforgettable”.
A letter from students at Ghey’s school, Birchwood Community High, was read out.
“We are so glad Brianna came to join us at Birchwood. We are so glad that she was part of our school community as we learnt so much from her,” the letter read.
“We learned so much about strength and determination to be one’s true self. And that is something that we all carry with us.
“She was a true one-off, unique and truly unforgettable. What a privilege it was to know her.”
Brianna Ghey’s grandmother was reported as saying at the funeral: “You can be whoever you want and will be accepted with love and celebration.”
A GoFundMe page to support Brianna Ghey’s family has surpassed £114,00 in donations from supporters.