Robyn Browne murder trial: “Celebrity clients spared court appearance”

January 16, 2009

Sourced from the Yorkshire Evening Post again; depressingly the journalist still sees fit to misgender Ms Browne at every turn – and this fact is made more apparent when you realise that none of the quotes from the trial do so (for once).

Clearly the journalist has never come across such documents as the NLGA Stylebook Supplement on LGBT Terminology or the GLAAD Media Reference Guide. Even the NUJ’s own Model Agreement on LGBT for its members (in its twelve page booklet, the Sexual Legislation Handbook – direct link to PDF here) devotes nearly half its content to explaining how its members should be treated regarding any transsexual and gender reassignment issues they may have.


Celebrity clients spared court appearance in Leeds transexual murder trial

CELEBRITY clients of a murdered transsexual have not been called to give evidence to avoid embarrassing them, an Old Bailey jury heard.

Conveniently ignoring that there would probably have been no court case had Ms Browne not been stabbed to death. Also conveniently perpetuating the myth that “celebrities” are somehow too precious, too delicate, too special to be subject to the due process of the law. “Embarrassed” by what? – publicly admitting that they used a trans woman for sex? – or that their adoring fans might be disappointed to find that, guess what, celebrities are only human too?

Hopkins has stated he went to the flat to help to steal a secret list of famous clients who were being blackmailed by the victim and that the killer was a Jamaican known as ‘Appee’.

The clients have been questioned by police.

In his closing speech, prosecutor Nicholas Hilliard said: “There is some evidence the victim may have had some well-known clients. You don’t know who they are, only that they have told police they have not paid anyone. We have not called them to court because there was no need to embarrass them.”


Speaking of the “secret list,” Mr Hilliard said: “Is this all a red herring, something fuelled by something the defendant saw in a newspaper, that someone well known used the services of the victim?”
Mr Hilliard said Hopkins’s final version of events was a lie – just as his previous two accounts had been.

This is interesting. If the implication is accurate – that there was no address book – then doesn’t that seem to suggest that the reason Mr Hopkins went to Ms Browne’s flat was to have sex with her? And if that’s the reality, then it might seem that the stabbing of Ms Browne would be more appropriately categorised as a trans panic attack (see also) after he realised that Ms Browne was a trans woman. The deaths of Kellie Telesford and Angie Zapata in apparently similar circumstances come all too readily to mind.

Hopkins told police he had never been to Miss Browne’s flat, but had confessed to his partner, Donna Abbott he was there when the victim was stabbed.

According to Ms Abbott, Hopkins told her Miss Browne was stabbed accidentally as she lunged at him with a knife when he tried to rip the secret pages from her Filofax.

The word ‘ludicrous’ is in my mind, for some reason. I just can’t work out how one person might “lunge” at another and then “accidentally” stab herself nine times, including in the back of her own neck.

“You have had a rare opportunity to see how the defendant’s lying story developed,” Mr Hilliard told the jury.

Hopkins left a bloody palm print at the scene which meant it was impossible to maintain his story about never having met the victim. He then told Ms Abbott about the struggle as an explanation. “It was all he was able to come up with at that time.”

He then wrote to Ms Abbott telling her his new version.

In a letter smuggled out of jail Hopkins told her to say police forced her to make a statement about his first account. He wrote: “The main thing to say is you were terrified of the police because they kept threatening you.”

“Your statement could be worse for me than the palm print. Make sure no silly **** sees this because this letter will send me down.”

Nothing there that hasn’t already been made public – not that that makes the whole sad and sordid story any more bearable. Then this:

The court has heard the final injuries were inflicted on Ms Browne as she lay face down on her bed.

As if having one’s life so violently extinguished at the age of just 23 wasn’t bad enough, but to have lost it by being literally stabbed in the back is a truly horrific thought. And having already been stabbed several times, was she really such a threat that – even lying face down in her own blood, perhaps already dying – that it was necessary to continue the attack in what seems like a frenzy of uncontrolled rage?


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