Teenager denies killing transgender woman

August 6, 2008

It seems the case against Shanniel Hyatt for the murder of Kellie Telesford has reached the courts. I seem to remember writing about this last year, at the time of her murder and will post links later. It happened not far from here (London, UK) last November.

I’m just going to copy/paste verbatim from the report in Worthing Today.

As we might expect, prurience is to the fore; the report is quite graphic in its descriptions, so please exercise caution because it may be triggering

A south London teenager has denied killing a woman with whom he claims to have become intimate, unaware she was born a man.

Shanniel Hyatt said he only found out the truth about Kellie Telesford’s gender when police arrested him for her murder.

Hyatt, 18, of Norbury, claims that Ms Telesford, 39, a pre-operative transgender female who lived her life as a woman, was “fit and well” when he left her flat in the early hours of November 18 last year, the Old Bailey was told.

He said he met up with Ms Telesford, a florist and beautician, and had gone to her flat for a drink and to watch DVDs. Hyatt also claims Ms Telesford performed a sex act on him.

She was found dead on November 21, having been strangled with a soft brown fur scarf. Police, alerted by Ms Telesford’s friends worried because they could not contact her, broke into her locked home in Thornton Heath.

Her body was on the floor with only her feet and right hand poking out from a “carefully” draped white throw, prosecutor Sally O’Neill said. The flat “showed signs of disturbance”, appearing to have been searched and items stolen.

CCTV images and mobile telephone records show Hyatt used Ms Telesford’s Oyster card to catch the bus from her home. He was carrying a “big bag, probably containing other items that he had stolen”, according to Ms O’Neill.

When Hyatt was arrested he told police he did not kill Ms Telesford and had not even been aware that she was biologically male at the time.

Hyatt insisted Ms Telesford was alive when he left her flat although he changed the time he first told the officers he had left, the court heard.

The jury was told that Ms Telesford’s death may not have been murder. Joanna Greenberg QC, defending, suggested the jury may need to consider whether Ms Telesford died during a sex game gone wrong as part of a consensual act, or that she may have inflicted the injury herself.

I have no words left today; this murder is just beyond any form of reason. And it hasn’t helped that I’ve spotted this report when I’m feeling emotionally as raw as fuck, ‘scuse my language.

ETA: Curtsey to Louise at TFW for reminding me of this quote (via BBC News). These are apparently the words of the defending barrister, Joanna Greenberg:

“While we are referring to her as a female out of courtesy because that is how she wanted to be known. She was nevertheless a male with a man’s strength and you would have thought that she, as a victim, would have fought her attacker but there was no signs.”

8 Responses to “Teenager denies killing transgender woman”

  1. queenemily Says:

    Oh fucking hell.

  2. Helen G Says:

    Yeah… It will be interesting to see if any non-trans blogs cover it. In other words, whether any non-trans bloggers (a) read your post and (b) agreed with it enough to want to blog about this latest in a long line.

    I haven’t cross-posted to TFW, but OTOH and in fairness, Louise had already picked up on the defence barrister’s breathtaking display of… of… well, a few things, really. Cissexism, Othering, trans misogyny (?)… I’ve probably missed a bunch of other stuff, too. You’ll forgive me if I say I’m feeling a little despondent…

  3. queenemily Says:

    I know. Believe me.

    Tired and despondent. But the monthly Patriarchy muffin basket’s due any day now, so that’ll cheer us up. Mmm muffin.

  4. Helen G Says:

    They taste funny, those muffins…


  5. […] Update on Kellie Telesford h/t Helen G […]

  6. Lisa Harney Says:

    I corrected my post! Originally, the link to this post was accidentally to the news story.

    Also, the defense barrister…ugh. It’s just like the way rape victims are discredited. You have to destroy the victim’s character to prove she deserved it to get the murderer a lighter sentence.

    I hate the way trials work, given that they seem to require that kind of scummy defense. Attacking the victim like that should not be allowable.

  7. Helen G Says:

    Thank you!

    I forget who made the very pertinent point that in cases like this, the victim is (self-evidently) unable to put across her point of view.

    I’m not sure how, or even if, one can get around having to rely rely on the alleged murderer as the sole source of information on the sequence of events.

    Perhaps, at least, a trial by jury means that the victim’s family have the benefit of 12 people’s consideration, not just a single judge.

    And one can only hope that a wider range of backgrounds and experiences would help to counter any possible bias.

  8. Lisa Harney Says:

    Well, yeah, the murderer’s testimony should be there because the murderer has a right to defend himself.

    I mean, just, the whole character assassination against women who are also victims (rape or murder) to justify what was done to them.


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