This is becoming tiresome, Mr Hopkins. You still want us to believe this later version of your story of how Ms Browne died, which exonerates you and implicates another. Why not just tell us what really happened, hm? Via the Yorkshire Evening Post:
Transsexual ‘was killed by a Jamaican’
A roofer accused of murdering a transsexual prostitute claims he tried to save the victim from being attacked by someone else.
James Hopkins, 42, from Leeds, told a court the real killer of 23-year-old Robyn Browne was a Jamaican man, he knew as “Appee.”
He told jurors the pair had conned their way into Ms Brown’s flat in Marylebone, London, to get an address book.
Hopkins, the Old Bailey heard, then saw Appee struggling with the victim on the bed and tried to pull him away.
He said: “I could see there was a lot of blood coming from around Browne’s abdomen, chest area.”
“Appee made for Browne again. I grabbed him and this time Appee turned round and headbutted me.”
“I staggered back and Appee returned and stabbed Browne up near the neck. I was in a state of shock. I couldn’t believe what happened.”
You’re not the only one, Mr Hopkins. I only hope the court doesn’t believe you, too. Because, as we’ve heard, apparently you’ve already confessed to stabbing Ms Browne when you went to her flat to steal her address book for the princely sum of £500:
Hopkins had allegedly told his partner, Donna Abbott, during a prison visit how Robyn Browne was stabbed accidentally during a struggle at the flat.
Hopkins also claimed he had been paid £500 to steal an address book containing the names of famous clients who were being blackmailed by the victim, the court heard.
As for all this, well, do you honestly expect us to believe that’s what really happened? Because all this talk about Appee completely contradicts what we’ve heard previously. Surely you haven’t forgot your partner’s assertion that you wrote to her asking her to lie? Here, let me refresh your memory: “The main thing to say if you have to go to court is that I wasn’t alone and Appy was with me.” Remember that? “The main thing to say […] is that I wasn’t alone”? From your letter last April? Oh come on, Mr Hopkins, we went through all this only a few days ago.
Still sticking to this version, then?
But giving evidence, Hopkins claimed that the plan was drawn up during a drinking session in the West End with Appee, who he had met while staying at the Queens Hotel in Brixton, south London.
He said: “He asked me if I would do him a favour. He said there was a girl that lived nearby that had some phone numbers that he needed, a book that she wouldn’t return.”
“She wouldn’t let him in the flat so would I go and get him access.”
Hopkins said he made an appointment for 7pm thinking she was a female prostitute.
He added: “When the door opened it was a black man in a dress, a bathrobe. I asked to use the bathroom and I heard Browne moving into the bedroom.”
Hopkins claimed he then pressed the buzzer to let Appee into the building.
You should have been a novelist; you certainly seem to have a very fertile imagination. Although, I must say I’m surprised you haven’t tried to use the trans panic defence (see also) – well, so far, anyway. Perhaps you’re saving it for another day’s prevarication, although I hope not. I just wish you’d tell the court what really happened, because for some reason – and maybe it’s just my suspicious mind, but it seems to me that if there is any truth to be found in your words, then it was more likely in that letter you wrote to your partner last April than in all this talk of conspiring with Appee…
Oh, and Mr Hopkins: how many times? Robyn Browne was a transsexual woman. Your continuing ungendering of her is sorely trying my patience…
Predictably, Mr Hopkins continues to deny murder and so the case continues. Further updates to follow as and when.
Previous related posts (reverse chronological order):
- Robyn Browne trial, Day 3: accused “not responsible for anybody’s death” (January 9, 2009)
- Robyn Browne murder trial: update from Old Bailey, January 7 (January 8, 2009)
- What price a trans woman’s life? In 1997 in London it was £500 (January 7, 2009) – abridged version cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia