Esther Ghey calls for more mindfulness and online safety as she remembers ‘beautiful and brave’ daughter Brianna

Virgin Radio

6 Jun 2024, 14:55

Jaxon Feeley, Esther Ghey

Credit: Virgin Radio

The mother of Brianna Ghey has opened up about losing her daughter in a bid to help encourage more mindfulness online, as well as more rules to help protect young LGBTQ+ people on social media. 

Brianna was murdered by two teenagers in a park in Cheshire in 2023, with the judge declaring their motivation in part down to their hostility towards Brianna’s transgender identity. Both Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe were handed life sentences of 22 years and 20 years respectively. 

Since Brianna’s death, her mother Esther Ghey has made the brave decision to start campaigning for stricter online safety rules for children and young people, alongside other bereaved parents. 

On Wednesday (5th June), Esther sat down with close friend and trans rights campaigner Jaxon Feeley on Virgin Radio Pride to discuss her experiences since losing Brianna, and revealed how the online abuse she faced in the lead-up to Brianna’s funeral forced her to take a stand. 

Esther told Jaxon: “One of the reasons I started this campaign was because after Brianna’s death, there was a site that was set up by the funeral directors. One Sunday morning, I woke up and I had an email from saying someone had set up a fundraiser on the website. I went on it and trolls had basically flooded it, just absolutely horrific things. There was transphobic hate there as well, it was horrid.”

Another shocking experience Esther had to endure was reading comments on articles discussing her daughter's death, only to witness more hatred focused towards Brianna. 

She continued: “It was horrible, I remember thinking like, I assume that these are mothers, how can you speak about a dead child like that? How can you talk about somebody like that? At the time, I had to choose a charity of choice for the funeral, and I remember thinking, everybody needs to be a little bit more mindful. 

“We need mindfulness in our society, because people need to be a little bit more aware of what they're actually saying and the impact that their words are having on other people. Just thought to myself, that's what our society needs more of.”

Esther also took a moment to remember her “amazing, fun, funny and beautiful” child. She shared: “She's so hard to describe. She was so out there. She was so different. She was quite wild, really. She was such an individual, and she was just so full of joy and happiness. Don't get me wrong, she was also a cheeky teenager as well, but she was so brave. I know that I will never meet another person like Brianna.”

While admitting that Brianna battled her own demons and mental health struggles, Esther confessed she tried to combat her daughter’s access to “the dark side of the internet” which proved to be a difficult challenge. 

“Everything needs to be fed,” she added. “You feed your mind, that’s what will grow. If you're feeling depressed and anxious and you're feeding your mind full of the kind of content that Brianna was accessing online, then you're just going to make that grow. Whereas if you perhaps feed it with more positive content, then it will feed that side of it, and you'll feel better.”

Esther herself has been an advocate for practising mindfulness after losing Brianna, not just for those who comment online, but also for herself. 

She continued: “When Brianna passed away, I'm more aware of what I'm thinking, and rather than getting into this state of rumination where I'm worrying or beating myself up, like I should have done this or I should have done that, as soon as I notice that I'm having negative thoughts, I can kind of think to myself that this isn't something that's going to be beneficial to me. 

“We're not going to get anything positive from me just beating myself up over and over again in my mind, so it gives you the ability to notice these thoughts and to stop the thoughts. It's enabled me to do something a bit more productive and positive."

At Virgin Radio, we are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our audience wherever possible. We have compiled some useful LGBTQ+ focused resources to help point you in the right direction. For more information, visit

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