'Hold your children tight', Brianna Ghey's mother tells vigil marking a year since her murder

Esther Ghey told the crowd at the vigil to 'hold your children tight'
Esther Ghey told the crowd at the vigil to 'hold your children tight' - Danny Lawson/PA
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Brianna Ghey’s mother has told a crowd gathered to mark one year since her daughter’s death to “hold your children tight”.

People gathered at Golden Square Shopping Centre in Warrington on Sunday to mark a year since the 16-year-old was murdered by teenagers Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe in a park in Cheshire.

During their sentencing earlier this month, the judge said the “exceptionally brutal” murder had elements of both sadism on the part of Jenkinson and transphobic hate on the part of Ratcliffe.

People gathered at Golden Square Shopping Centre in Warrington on Sunday to mark a year since the murder
People gathered at Golden Square Shopping Centre in Warrington on Sunday to mark a year since the murder - ADAM VAUGHAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Shutterstock

Addressing the crowd at the vigil, Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, said: “Brianna was an amazing, unique and joyful teenager.

“I will be forever thankful that I was lucky enough to spend 16 years with her.

“She taught me so much and gave me so much happiness and love.

“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 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.”

A person lights a candle during the vigil
A person lights a candle during the vigil - ADAM VAUGHAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Shutterstock

It comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak refused to apologise to Brianna’s father and said it is “sad and wrong” to link his transgender joke at Prime Minister’s Questions to her case.

Brianna’s father, Peter Spooner, said Mr Sunak should say sorry for the “degrading” and “dehumanising” remark made in the Commons.

Mr Sunak accused Sir Keir Starmer of having difficulty in “defining a woman” during an attack on Labour Party U-turns.

Esther Ghey was visiting Parliament when Mr Sunak aimed the jibe at Sir Keir.

His comment prompted fierce criticism from across the political spectrum, with Sir Keir telling Mr Sunak: “Of all the weeks to say that, when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber. Shame.”

But on Thursday, the Prime Minister claimed it was “the worst of politics” to link his comments to Brianna’s case.

At the vigil, Brianna’s headteacher, Emma Mills, told those gathered to honour her memory by being “true to yourself”.

“Brianna knew who she was,” she said. “And she was determined to be true to that.

“This determination spirit is something that I always admired about Brianna, and it’s a deserving legacy for us to remember her by.”

She said that the pressure to conform is “so intense” for teenagers.

“Societal pressure to conform is very real, for all of us,” she said. “But the level of pressure as a teenager amongst your peers can be so intense.

“Brianna knew who she was, and she didn’t bow to the pressures around her. Please remember that about her. Be true to yourself, be yourself, and not a version of yourself that you think others want you to be.”

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