Robyn Browne trial, Day 3: accused “not responsible for anybody’s death”

January 9, 2009

Via the Yorkshire Evening Post, a brief summary of yesterday’s proceedings at the Old Bailey in connection with the trial of James Hopkins for the murder of Robyn Browne in 1997:

Leeds accused ‘never met’ murdered transexual

[…] “To my knowledge I do not know the person or the address referred to by the police.”

“I met a lot of people at a lot of different addresses due to my lifestyle.”

“I have never stabbed or have been involved in stabbing anyone. I have nothing further to say at this time.”

I’m not convinced, actually, Mr Hopkins, that there’s nothing more for you to say. I have a hunch there’s plenty more you might consider saying to the court. Starting with a straight answer to the question you seem to be going out of your way to avoid:

“Did I do it?”

You’ve already said that you know a lot about it and how it happened – so why not share that information with the rest of us? Telling the truth is the least you could do for the memory of Robyn Browne.

[…] Having refused to answer a series of questions after his arrest, Hopkins was confronted with forensic evidence from the flat in Gosfield Street, Marylebone.

Told his prints were found on copies of the Sun newspaper and Loot adverstising paper in the living room, Hopkins was asked: “Have you anything to say about this,” and replied: “No.”

As above, Mr Hopkins: I believe there are things that you could, and should, say about it.

He added: “I did not kill anybody called James Brown. I am not a violent person. I have never been violent.”

A disingenuous approach like that doesn’t do you any favours. Of course you “did not kill anybody called James Brown” – because the person you’ve already confessed to killing was called Robyn Browne. Stop this deliberate misgendering, please, Mr Hopkins – it’s offensive, unnecessary and really doesn’t help your case in any way at all.

And your claims of non-violence? Well, let’s just say that, on the basis of what I’ve read so far, I find that very hard to believe. Only a couple of days ago, we were hearing how you “confessed to the 1997 killing of [Ms Browne] in letters to [your] partner and young son”.

So which is it? Once again I ask: did you stab Ms Browne multiple times and leave her for dead?

“I am not responsible for anybody’s death.”

To paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies, “Well you would say that, wouldn’t you?”

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ETA: Further update – yep, via YEP – describing Donna Abbott’s testimony:

Donna Abbott said James Hopkins confessed to fighting with victim Robyn Browne when she visited him in prison after his arrest.

She told a jury at The Old Bailey: “He said he went in, it turned into a struggle and there was a fight. He said he caught him in the neck and the chest with the knife.”

Oh please Ms Abbott, not you as well? How many times – you do not refer to Robyn Browne with male pronouns.

Sorry, it just makes me cross – as if there haven’t been enough disrespectful things said about Ms Browne already, apparently simply because she was a trans woman…

Ms Abbott added: “Jim said someone was being threatened and they asked him to go and get the book. When James went there he knew it was a prostitute and a lot of well-known people were getting threatened.”

Again. Ms Abbott, you do not refer to trans women as “it”. Ever. Just because someone like Allen Andrade (accused of the murder of Angie Zapata) uses such dehumanising language doesn’t make it all right for you to do the same.

Hopkins claimed he had been told to steal an address book from the flat in West London by a criminal known as Pineapple Head or ‘Appy,’ the court heard.

[…]

Ms Abbott said: “Jim told me it could be his palm print and it could be his blood. He said: ‘I haven’t done this Donna.’ He said if he goes down someone else would go down with him.”

Ms Abbott at first kept quiet about Hopkins’ claims but later gave a statement after one of her friends told police.

Hopkins then wrote her a final letter in April last year asking her to lie in court, it is claimed.

It read: “The main thing to say if you have to go to court is that I wasn’t alone and Appy was with me.”

Ms Abbott insisted that Hopkins never mentioned Appy was in the flat as well.

As before, Mr Hopkins denies murder and the case continues. Further updates will follow as and when available.

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