Archive for the 'Andrea Waddell' Category

18 June: Andrea Waddell would have celebrated her 30th birthday today

June 18, 2010

Andrea Waddell (Image via Reading Post)

Following Neil McMillan’s conviction and life sentence for murder, Andrea’s brother Nick said outside Lewes Crown Court two weeks ago:

“We hope everyone who has read about Andrea over the past seven months will be inspired by her, as we all are, to live their lives true to themselves, not to judge other people for their differences and to strive to make the world a better and more just place.”[Via]

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Andrea Waddell: murder trial verdict (4 June 2010)

June 4, 2010

Andrea Waddell (Image from The Argus, courtesy of Lee's Images)Breaking now; more to follow later: Neil McMillan has been found guilty of murdering Andrea Waddell and jailed for at least 22 years.

Via BBC News, Press Association and others:

A man has been found guilty of murdering a woman he visited for sex and setting fire to her Brighton flat.

Neil McMillan, 42, applied “unremitting pressure” to Andrea Waddell’s neck at her flat in Upper Lewes Road on 15 October last year.

[…]

Addressing McMillan, of Bennett Road, Brighton, after the verdict, Judge Michael Lawson QC said : “What you did that night brought to an end a life which in many views was one of relentless difficulty faced with extreme courage.”

“The person you killed was a person who always sought to overcome difficulties.”

“On the other hand, faced with a difficulty in that flat, whatever that was, you chose to take it out on her.

“You strangled her, with relentless pressure for over 20 seconds. There was the distinction between you and her.”

And he added: “Once you lost control, for whatever reason and which cannot be regarded as justified, you formed the intention to destroy her, to kill her.”

“It wasn’t an accident and you continued to hold her round her neck, crushing the neck structures until she was dead.”

“Having done that you then dragged her back into the bedroom and set fire to her and set fire to the bed on which together you had laid.”

“The reason was that you were frightened that there would be some trace of your presence in that flat to prove that in fact you were the last person to have seen her.”

[…]

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Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia and The F-Word

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Andrea Waddell: murder trial update – jury retires (4 June 2010)

June 4, 2010

Via The Argus:

Andrea Waddell (image via The Argus)The jury in a sex worker murder case is expected to retire today to consider its verdict.

Neil McMillan, 42, is accused of strangling 29-year-old […] Andrea Waddell at her home in Upper Lewes Road, Brighton, before setting fire to her flat on October 15 last year.

Ms Waddell […] used the Adult Work website, which McMillan is alleged to have visited regularly.

TV satellite installer McMillan, of Bennett Road, Brighton, denies murder and arson with intent to endanger life.

ETA: There’s a little more context in Lynn News’ report:

[…] McMillan, 42, is alleged to have applied “unremitting pressure” to 29-year-old Ms Waddell’s neck for about 20 seconds while he was in a “worked up and angry mood” on October 15 last year.

Jurors were asked to consider whether he killed her after discovering she was transgender or because she had been unable, through her physical problems, to perform sexually for him.

Lewes Crown Court heard that he went to his own nearby home afterwards to shower and wash his clothes in an attempt to cover his tracks.

Prosecutor Simon Russell Flint QC said that earlier, when he arrived at Ms Waddell’s flat at about 10.30pm, he had drunk about seven pints of beer during the previous four hours.

He spouted expletives during the taxi ride to her home, telling the driver that all people in Cork, Ireland, were a “bunch of c****”.

Mr Russell Flint said: “It was in that mood, with those parting words, that he went up the stairs to Andrea Waddell’s flat and within an hour she was dead.” […]

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Andrea Waddell: murder trial update (1 June 2010)

June 1, 2010

Via The Metro:

Andrea Waddell and family - Image via Reading ChronicleA man accused of murdering a prostitute in her own home after he visited her for sex told a court today that he never harmed her.

Satellite TV installer Neil McMillan is accused of punching Andrea Waddell in the face, then strangling her and setting fire to her one-bedroom, first-floor flat in Upper Lewes Road, Brighton, East Sussex, on October 15 last year.

Giving evidence at Lewes Crown Court, McMillan, 42, said he contacted Ms Waddell through her profile on the Adult Works website and arranged to visit her for sex.

But he said he did not realise she was the same escort he had booked just two weeks previously but never actually met as he fell asleep.

Cross-examining him, prosecutor Simon Russell Flint QC asked if it was the fact that Ms Waddell, 29, was [a transgender woman] that made him kill her.

But McMillan said he did not find out about this until after his arrest […]

“I did not punch or strangle Andrea Waddell,” he said. “I did not hurt Andrea Waddell in any way. I did not kill her.”

Mr Russell Flint asked him if she died following a sex game involving asphyxiation that went wrong.

“I went to Upper Lewes Road for a bit of straight sex. Nothing extraordinary, if you like,” he said.

He added that he did not get everything he wanted out of the half-hour session as he was unable to get an erection.

But he said this was not something that made him angry at her as it was his own problem. He also did not get annoyed with her because she refused to perform any act on him.

He said he was not a violent person or someone who often got angry or lost control. When asked about his weight, he said he believed he weighed around 16 or 17 stone last October but although he was heavy he did not think he was particularly strong.

Sitting in the witness box, clean-shaven and dressed in a grey pinstripe suit, McMillan also denied he had an “obsession” with sex.

At the moment I’m just recording the various press reports I see about this case; other than a little editing for length and/or content, I’m not planning on commenting in any depth until the trial is more advanced. However, it is interesting to note that – so far, at least – Mr McMillan doesn’t seem to have attempted to use the notorious trans panic defence. Time will tell, though, no doubt.

(There are useful analyses of the trans panic defense by Holly at Feministe and by Jillian Weiss at The Bilerico Project)

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ETA, 2 June 2010: The same story appears pretty much word-for-word in The Argus and BBC News, although the BBC report also has a few other previously reported sentences included, presumably to expand the context a little.

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Andrea Waddell: murder trial update (25 May 2010)

May 26, 2010

Via The Argus of 25 May 2010:

Andrea Waddell (Image from The Argus, courtesy of Lee's Images)Police investigated at least six other people over the murder of Brighton prostitute Andrea Waddell.

But none of them became official suspects in the inquiry into her death, a court was told.

Miss Waddell’s badly burned body was found in her one bedroom flat in Lewes Road, Brighton, on October 15, last year.

She had been strangled after making an appointment to see satellite television installer Neil McMillan.

McMillan, 42, of Bennett Road, Brighton, admits he went to the flat for sex with her that night but claims she was still alive when he left and someone else who he did not see arrived.

Detective Chief Inspector Adam Hibbert said there had been a fair and thorough investigation into the 29-year-old’s death which had spread as far as Northern Ireland.

He told a jury at Lewes Crown Court: “There are a number of people who have featured in the inquiry that we have looked at.”

“None of those people have been nominated as suspects but in the interests of a fair trial we have looked at them.”

“Rest assured that if there was any other evidence implicating anyone else we would have taken a different course of action.”

“It was my intention from the outset not to adopt a closed view that the defendant was responsible and so nobody else could be.”

“The reason to look at others was to make sure that they could not have committed the murder and there was no opportunity for them to do it.”

“To date, nobody other than the defendant has had the opportunity.”

It is alleged that McMillan killed Miss Waddell […]

McMillan denies murder.

The trial continues.

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Andrea Waddell: murder trial update (18 May 2010)

May 18, 2010

Note: The following excerpt from a news report contains graphic descriptions which may be triggering

Via News & Star:

Andrea Waddell with her brother Nick in 2006 - Image via the Daily MailCrime scene investigators spent three days searching the bedroom of a former Annan man accused of murdering a prostitute, a court heard.

[…]

Officers examined more than 140 items – including clothes and receipts – belonging to satellite installer Neil McMillan, 42, at the room he rented in Brighton, East Sussex.

McMillan, originally from Annan, denies murdering prostitute Andrea Waddell, 29, on the night of October 15 last year.

The prosecution at Lewes Crown Court alleges he strangled Miss Waddell at her flat in Brighton after booking her for a £140 session, then set the flat on fire to cover his tracks.

Miss Waddell’s body was found bruised and charred in her three-roomed flat.

The jury has heard police found more than £37,000 cash in her flat.

McMillan admits visiting Miss Waddell for sex on the night she died, but insists she was still alive when he left.

Police tracked McMillan down through text messages and calls he made to her mobile phone, the court has heard.

[…]

The case continues.

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Andrea Waddell: murder trial update (13 May 2010)

May 13, 2010

Note: The following excerpt from a news report contains graphic descriptions which may be triggering

Via The Argus:

[…]

Firefighter James Holgate told the court he used breathing apparatus to enter the one-bedroom flat.

He said the smoke was thick and he and a colleague felt there way into the flat and made their way to the burning bedroom.

He said: “I could see flames but very little else because of the thick black smoke.”

He said the bed was on fire and there was also an area alight behind the door.

When he and his colleague searched the room they discovered the body lying on the floor. He said there was no sign of life.

The court was told Miss Waddell was lying on her back and she had suffered severe burns.

[…]

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Andrea Waddell: murder trial update (11 May 2010)

May 11, 2010

Note: The following excerpts from news reports contain graphic descriptions which may be triggering

Via News & Star:

Andrea Waddell - Image via BBC NewsThe naked, partly-charred body of graduate Andrea Waddell, 29, was discovered by firefighters in the bedroom of her flat in Brighton, East Sussex, last October.

Satellite installer Neil McMillan, 42, formerly of Annan but now living in Brighton, denies her murder.

Lewes Crown Court was told that fractures to Ms Waddell’s throat and ruptured blood vessels around her eyes showed she had been strangled.

Simon Russell-Flint, QC, prosecuting, said: “We are talking about the murder of an unarmed defenceless young woman in her own home. The woman had permitted her attacker to enter into her home for the purpose of sexual activity and was then attacked, strangled by the neck until she was dead.”

The prosecution said McMillan, of Bennett Road, Brighton, had drunk seven pints of lager before taking a taxi to Ms Waddell’s flat.

In the cab he was “worked up and angry” and embarked on a racist tirade, they said.

It was alleged that the pair had sex on Ms Waddell’s bed before he strangled her to death in her bathroom, with her head in the bath. He then torched her body in the bedroom before going home to change his clothes and shower, the jury heard.

Neighbours called 999 after smelling smoke.

When McMillan was arrested two days after the killing, he was found to have various marks on his body, including scratches to his arm, Mr Russell-Flint said.

Whether those injuries were sustained during the death of Ms Waddell or during the course of his work as a satellite installer was a question for the jury, he went on.

Mr Russell-Flint said: “Having been strangled and having been killed, her body was placed on the floor of her bedroom and she was later found lying at a 45-degree angle on her back with her arms and legs raised up in the air.”

McMillan told police that a purple lighter found at the scene could have been his but that it might have fallen out of his pocket.

Via The Argus:

Prosecutor Simon Russell Flint QC said that when McMillan returned to his rented room after visiting her, his landlord noticed a change in his demeanour.

He said McMillan appeared “pale faced compared to his usual ruddy look” and that he was quiet and “didn’t appear to be his normal self”.

“You have to wonder why that may be,” Mr Russell Flint told jurors.

McMillan stripped off his clothes and asked his landlord if he could use the washing machine, saying he needed some clothes for work the following day.

In addition, he showered for the second time that evening and removed the laces from the boots he had worn to Ms Waddell’s flat that evening.

The following day colleagues also noticed a change in his character, the court heard. Mr Russell Flint said: “When Mr McMillan went to work, colleagues noticed he wasn’t his usual self, he seemed subdued and quiet.”

Police were brought into investigate after neighbours heard a smoke alarm sounding and firefighters discovered Ms Waddell’s body in her burnt-out flat allegedly committed by McMillan.

McMillan asked to speak to two officers in their car and he was later arrested.

In custody, he denied being responsible for her killing, telling officers: “I’m in my 40s and I’m Scottish and I didn’t do it.” [via]

The case continues.

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Andrea Waddell: murder trial begins today

May 10, 2010

Via the London Evening Standard and The Independent (both carry identically-worded reports apparently sourced from the Press Association):

A man will go on trial today accused of murdering a [sex worker] who was found strangled in her burnt-out flat.

Firefighters found the body of 29-year-old Andrea Waddell in her first-floor flat in Upper Lewes Road, Brighton, East Sussex, shortly before midnight on October 15 last year.

Satellite installer Neil McMillan, 41, of Bennett Road, Brighton, denies murder, arson with intent to endanger life and arson being reckless as to whether to endanger lives.

[…]

She moved to Brighton about five years before her death and was described by Det Ch Insp Adam Hibbert as a “sociable girl who was well known in Brighton” but led a “relatively private life”.

She was not known to drink or take any drugs and was said to be very close to her family.

McMillan, who is in custody, will go on trial at Lewes Crown Court.

(Edited for clarity)

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Murdered woman’s flat set alight; cis man arrested

October 19, 2009

I know I’m a bit late with this one, but the media coverage – primarily in the Daily Mail, but also by BBC News – is, quite frankly, really starting to irritate me and I really have to rant a little here, if only for reasons of catharsis.

A news story began circulating late last week about the death of a woman in a flat fire in Brighton which was being treated as “unexplained” by Sussex Police. The woman, later named as Andrea Waddell, was pronounced dead at the scene. A subsequent post-mortem examination revealed that she had been strangled, and a forensic inspection found that the fire had started in Ms Waddell’s bedroom. Additionally, to quote the Daily Mail:

Police informed her parents, Sonia and Robin, of her death and also of the fact that Miss Waddell had been working as a prostitute.

By Saturday 17 October, Sussex Police had arrested a man on suspicion of her murder, and the investigation continues.

As tragic as this story is – and make no mistake, it is tragic – one cannot help but wonder why the mass media decided to give the case so much attention.

However, what apparently tips this story over into true newsworthiness in the minds of the journalists, is not that Ms Waddell was so young, or that she suffered from scoliosis and fibromyalgia, or even that she worked as a prostitute.

No, what really gives journalists license to publish reams of offensive irrelevancies is… yes, you guessed: Ms Waddell was a transsexual woman. Although this doesn’t seem to have come to light until yesterday, neither the Daily Mail or BBC News wasted a minute in drawing this important piece of news to the nation’s attention. Never mind that it has absolutely no bearing on the report, the fearless hacks pounced on it with all the self-righteous fervour they could muster and between them, have managed to introduce an entirely unnecessary element of cissexism into their coverage.

For example, from the Daily Mail:

[…] it is hard to believe that Andrea Waddell was born a man.

One of the commonest attacks made on transsexual women is the essentialist trope that, if you are male-assigned at birth, you will never be anything else. Our pasts are endlessly and forever held against us. This invisibilises our morphic dissonance and denies the potential for change.

And from BBC News:

[…] she underwent gender reassignment surgery after moving to Brighton in 2004.

I’d question why information about a surgical procedure carried out five years ago has even the slightest relevance to this report. Unless, of course, her accused murderer should decide to use the trans panic defence if/when his case comes before the court. But that, as they say, would be an entirely different story.

To be honest, you could leave out the fact that Ms Waddell was transsexual and the story – as tragic as it is – would scarcely merit a mention outside the Brighton Evening Argus: A woman, working as a prostitute, was strangled and her flat set on fire. Police have arrested a suspect and the investigation continues.

But the moment it becomes known that a transsexual woman is involved it’s worthy of national media coverage, apparently. My already limited faith in the ability of the mass news media to run a story about transsexual women without further objectifying, marginalising or just plain othering us, continues to decline.

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Quoted links:

Daily Mail: It’s interesting to note that, although the headline was changed sometime over the weekend (not that one is particularly less offensive than the other), the link goes to the same page. In other words, it doesn’t matter which of the following two links you click on, you’ll end up at the same place.

BBC News: Although the BBC did at least appear to keep up with developments, it too continued the time-honoured news media tradition of including numerous offensive irrelevancies:

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Cross-posted at The F-Word

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Curtsey to Steph for the inspiration/motivation