Detectives investigating the murder of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey have said they are investigating whether the stabbing was a hate crime.
The teenager, who was 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 Brianna, who was a transgender girl, was the victim of a hate crime.
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, who are both aged 15, were arrested on suspicion of Brianna’s murder and detectives have been granted an extension of 30 hours to further question the two suspects.
A crowdfunding page which was set up to help Brianna’s family has passed £70,000 in donations just one day after it was set up.
More than 4,500 people from 41 different countries have contributed to the fundraising efforts, GoFundMe confirmed.
Across the UK, candlelit vigils, organised by members of the transgender community, are set to take place in memory of the teenager, including in Edinburgh and in Glasgow in the coming days.
In a tribute issued after her death, Brianna’s family described the teenager as a “much-loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister”.
It 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.