Robyn Browne trial: cis man convicted of murder

January 20, 2009

James Hopkins, 42, from Leeds, was yesterday found guilty of murdering Robyn Browne in 1997. He will be sentenced on 22 January.

Via BBC News (which is still, unfortunately, misgendering Ms Browne in its report):

In a statement, Ms Browne’s family thanked the police, the prosecution team and their liaison officer for their efforts. They also thanked the jury for their unanimous verdict.

Ms Browne’s sister, Louise, said: “Now there can be some sort of closure. Her death impacts on those who knew her.”

As it does on the wider trans community. Thankfully the trans panic defence (and see also) wasn’t even tried in this case, no thanks to the prosecution’s apparent lack of understanding of (or tact for) Ms Browne’s transsexuality.

And from the Yorkshire Evening Post:

Mr Hilliard said: “There is some evidence that Robyn did have some clients who were in the public eye.”

But he said of Hopkins’s claims: “It was all untrue.”

Ms Browne’s sister Louise said in a statement to the court that his [sic] sister had been much loved despite her lifestyle.

“Lifestyle”? Being trans is many things, but it is categorically not a lifestyle choice…

I dunno. I’m glad that a verdict was secured aginst Mr Hopkins, whatever the “real” story – it seemed clear from the start that Ms Browne died by his hand, and thankfully that fact was not obscured.

But there’s no cause for celebration in all this.

The constant misgendering of Ms Browne by Mr Hopkins, Ms Abbott, the media and, most disturbing of all, by the prosecution, amounts to nothing more and nothing less than a complete dehumanisation of Ms Browne by all concerned. Ms Browne died alone, victim of a violent and frenzied stabbing and it took nearly twelve years for justice to be served. These facts on their own are hard enough to bear – but it seems that even after the verdict has been handed down, it’s still too much to ask that her identity be respected.

RIP Robyn Browne.

ETA: From the Daily Telegraph

Judge Martin Stephens said Hopkins would be jailed for life after a decision on the minimum term to be served.


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