Robyn Browne murder trial: update from Old Bailey, January 7

January 8, 2009

A further update on the trial of James Hopkins in connection with the murder of Robyn Browne in London in 1997. The Yorkshire Evening Post carries a piece (link here) which focuses on the evidence given yesterday (January 7) by PC Susan Gill, the police officer called to the scene of the crime and who interviewed Natasha Brentwood (Ms Browne’s flatmate). Although it seems a little more measured in tone than the previous piece I wrote about yesterday (link here), nonetheless the paper still seems to have a certain flair for lurid prose, at least in its opening couple of paragraphs.

And I’m disappointed to see the journalist persisting with the offensive and irrelevant ungendering of Ms Browne by referring to her pre-transition identity details. I really wish the writer wouldn’t do that, to my mind it says nothing useful about the death of Ms Browne. It’s also inconsistent with the otherwise constant use of female pronouns (‘her’ and ‘she’) throughout the rest of the report – even by the journalist.

PC Susan Gill, the police officer called to the scene on February 28, 1997, spoke to a distraught Ms Brentwood when she arrived at 8.30pm.

“She was distressed and crying,” PC Gill told the jury.

“She had lots of blood in her hands, her face and her clothes.”

“I could see there was a lot of blood in the room as well as large bloodstains on the bedclothing.”


Kitchen knives, which could have caused the injuries, were found in the sink and in a drawer under the hob.

A black Filofax with the A-N address section torn out was also recovered from the flat, the court heard.

The jury was told earlier that Hopkins confessed to the killing in letters to his partner Donna Abbott and young son.

Further updates to follow as and when available.


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