Police in Cheshire are investigating the killing of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey. On Saturday, the schoolgirl was found lying with stab wounds on a path in Linear Park in Culcheth. Police have been granted a 30-hour extension to question a boy and girl, both aged 15, who have been arrested on suspicion of murder. The police said all lines of inquiry were “being explored”, including hate crimes. They are now considering whether it could have been a hate crime.

Brianna was a transgender girl, but Cheshire Police detectives previously said there was no evidence to suggest the killing was “hate-related”. They said a post-mortem examination was planned, and officers still searched for the weapon used. They are also trying to establish a motive for the attack.

Brianna’s family earlier paid tribute to the “much loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister” and said her death had left a “massive hole”. Candle-lit vigils are to be held across the UK, with events due to be held this evening in Liverpool and Bristol.

Events are also planned in the coming days in cities including Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast, and York. Tributes have also been paid to Brianna on social media, particularly Tik Tok, where she had a considerable following. Donations on a GoFundMe crowdfunding page set up for Brianna’s family, which said the schoolgirl “brought a lot of laughter to those who knew her” and “looking forward to taking her exams this year”, have passed £70,000.

LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall tweeted: “Our thoughts are with Brianna Ghey, a young trans woman, and her loved ones. We urge anyone who may have information which will help the police with their inquiries to come forward.” The incident has sent shockwaves across the UK. It highlights the urgent need for greater understanding and acceptance of the transgender community. The police urged people to avoid online speculation and be wary of sharing misinformation. The investigation is ongoing, and more information is expected to come to light in the coming days.