Brianna Ghey: A meeting of mothers 

Published: Thursday, March 14th, 2024


This is a blog by our Communications and Campaigns Manager, Keeva Baxter. 

 

After the violent murder of Brianna Ghey last year, Brianna’s mother, Esther, has now met with the mother of one of the teenagers who killed her daughter.  

This week, Esther Ghey was featured on Radio 4’s Today programme to speak about her experience meeting face-to-face with the mother and uncle of Scarlett Jenkinson, a teenage girl who stabbed her daughter in a park in 2023. 

Prior to the meeting, Esther publicly said to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that “if [Scarlett’s mother] ever wants to speak to me, I’m here”. She explained that she felt “a bit of a connection” to her as they were “both trying to navigate something that nobody should ever have gone through”. 

Whilst it was not part of a formal Restorative Justice process, by meeting each other, the two mothers were able to form a connection and use dialogue to begin to repair some of the harm that had been caused by Scarlett and her co-defendant Eddie’s actions. 

The empathy shown to Scarlett’s family by Brianna’s mother is inspiring to see and, to some, an unexpected response. Asked whether she feels hatred, anger and resentment towards the family, she said “I genuinely don’t” and emphasised that she wants to “try to take a more positive approach”. 

Professor Lawrence Sherman of Cambridge University also spoke on the Radio 4 programme, sharing his thoughts on Restorative Justice. He explained that restorative processes are some of the “oldest and most universal practices in justice” and can lead to a “substantial reduction in post traumatic stress and future harm being committed by offenders”. He described how the meeting between Esther and Scarlett’s mother began to rebuild “the bridges that were torn apart by the crime”. 

The meeting

Discussing the meeting that she had with Scarlett’s mother, Esther said: “It was emotional… we spoke about very personal things, she was very open with me and she was very respectful”. 

Having been brought together by contacts of their families, the mothers discussed the challenges of parenting, particularly in the age of technology that their daughters grew up in. 

Esther commented that “her coming to see me shows a great deal of bravery on her part as well”. She is open to working alongside Scarlett’s mother going forwards, collaborating on campaigns to teach mindfulness in schools and protecting children online. 

What does this mean for Restorative Justice?

The meeting of these two mothers, coming from two different perspectives, shows the power of communication and empathy. It also shows how Restorative Justice can take place amongst family members and the wider community who have been impacted by a crime. This reveals the breadth of possibilities within the restorative process and how transformative it can be for a variety of people. 

The fact that Esther is open to collaborating with Scarlett’s mother on her campaigns going forward demonstrates how positive outcomes can arise through dialogue. By hearing each other’s perspectives in a face-to-face and respectful setting, the two women identified their similarities despite their experience on different sides of the justice system. 

This story shows the power of a conversation and how unlikely connections can be made through restorative processes, allowing something positive to come out of the most traumatic experiences of people’s lives. We are pleased at the positive results of this meeting, and we hope that this meeting can help to spread awareness of the power of restorative meetings to help families and communities heal.

Listen to the radio interview with Esther Ghey, starting at 1:13:07. 

 

© 2024 Why me? Charity no. 1137123. Company no. 6992709.