DETECTIVES probing the stab murder of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey have said they are investigating whether it was a hate crime.
The teenager, from Birchwood in Warrington, Cheshire, was found by members of the public as she lay wounded on a path in Linear Park, Culcheth, at around 3.13pm on Saturday.
Cheshire Police previously said there was no evidence to suggest Ghey's, who was a transgender girl, was the victim of a hate crime.
But on Tuesday, the force issued a statement which said all lines of inquiry were being explored, “including whether this was a hate crime”.
A boy and a girl, both aged 15, were arrested on suspicion of Ghey's murder and detectives have been granted an extension of 30 hours to further question the two suspects, police said.
A GoFundMe crowdfunding page set up to help the schoolgirl’s family has passed £70,000 in donations just one day after it was set up.
More than 4500 people from 41 different countries have contributed to the fundraising efforts, GoFundMe confirmed.
Candlelit vigils, organised by members of the transgender community, are set to take place across the country in memory of the teenager.
In the coming days, vigils are due to be held in cities such as London, Glasgow, Leeds and Belfast – with events in Liverpool and Bristol due to take place on Tuesday evening.
In a tribute issued after Brianna’s death on behalf of her family, they said the teenager was a “much-loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister”.
Vigil for Brianna Ghey Department of Education London Wednesday 15th 6PM SW1P 3BT No Justice No Peace! pic.twitter.com/LJEH2HQVDU— Transgender Action Block (@TransActionBloc) February 13, 2023
The statement continued: “She was a larger-than-life character who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her.
“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.”
A number of police vans were seen parked in the surrounding area after the incident, with a number of uniformed officers patrolling the park.
A large section of the area was cordoned off by police tape, and police dogs were also seen at the scene.
The headteacher at Brianna’s school, Birchwood Community High School, said they were “shocked and truly devastated” by her death.
A number of schoolchildren, still in their school uniforms, placed flowers at the police cordon at the entrance to the park on Monday.