UK: Man arrested after the murder of a Brighton prostitute

9:10am Sunday 18th October 2009

A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of a Brighton prostitute.

Police arrested the 42-year-old last night following the death of Andrea Waddell, who was found strangled in her flat following a fire.

The man, who is from Brighton, is currently in police custody and will be interviewed by detectives today.

Ms Waddell’s family last night revealed that she had undergone gender surgery to become a woman while studying for a master’s degree.

Detectives launched a murder inquiry after her body was found shortly before midnight on Thursday in the first floor flat in Upper Lewes Road, Brighton.

In a statement released by Sussex Police, Ms Waddell’s family said the 29-year-old was born Alexander John, but saw a psychiatrist about his ambivalent gender feelings as a teenager growing up in Reading, Berkshire.

At the age of 14 he was diagnosed with scoliosis (severe spinal curvature), and after surgery developed fibromyalgia, a permanent condition of chronic pain.

He began hormone treatment while studying philosophy at Durham University and ended his three-year course as Andrea Joanna, before undergoing gender surgery while studying for a master’s degree in social and political thought at the University of Sussex.

During this time Ms Waddell nearly died after developing acute ulcerative colitis but continued to live “incapacitated by pain but fiercely independent”, the statement from her parents, Sonia and Robin, and brother Nick, read.

It ended: “We know she is now finally free of this pain and at peace.”

At a press conference at Brighton police station yesterday, Detective Chief Inspector Adam Hibbert, who is leading the inquiry, appealed for other members of Brighton’s sex industry to come forward if they had information about Ms Waddell’s death.

He would not disclose what Ms Waddell was strangled with or whether her body was set on fire.

The officer added that she was “discreet” about her work as a prostitute, but was known to sometimes take clients home with her to the one-bedroom flat where she was believed to live alone.

Mr Hibbert said Ms Waddell, who moved to the city around five years ago, “was 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 described as “very close” to her family.

Forensics officers were expected to be at the flat for many days, he said, and it was not yet known how the fire started or whether it was deliberate.

Ms Waddell was last seen alive some time on Thursday but police would not comment on when or where.

Her car, a Suzuki Wagon, has been towed away by officers for examination.

Mr Hibbert urged anyone with information about her death to come forward.

He said: “We need the public’s help, particularly within the sex worker community there may be people who have vital information about Andrea’s death.

“We will deal with the information in as sensitive a fashion as possible.

“Andrea did not deserve to be murdered. We will find her killer.”

Did you know Ms Waddell? Call the newsdesk on 01273 544538 or leave your tributes below.

See original at The Argus

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