Man convicted of 1997 murder of trans sex worker Robyn Browne

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A 42-year-old man was today found guilty of the murder of Robyn Browne in 1997.

James Hopkins will be sentenced on Thursday. The decision of the jury at the Old Bailey in London was unanimous.

Ms Browne’s body was discovered in a flat in Gosfield Rd W1 on 28th February 1997 and police launched a murder inquiry.

Ms Browne, 23, died of multiple stab wounds. A sex worker, she had been undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

Hopkins, of Bawn Drive, Leeds reportedly confessed to the murder in a letter he wrote from prison to his partner Donna, also telling his young son in another letter: “My past has come back to haunt me.”

He was arrested in Leeds in June 2007, after being identified from a palm print left at a murder scene ten years previously.

During the trial Nicholas Hilliard QC, for the prosecution, told the jury that a palm print had been left on the bedroom door of Ms Browne’s flat, as well as on a copy of The Sun newspaper, and another publication.

Hopkins claimed that he had been sent to Ms Browne’s flat by drug dealers to take her address book which contained the details of her celebrity clients, who were being blackmailed.

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

However he went on to say of Hopkins’ claims: “It was all untrue.”

The Metropolitan police said the case was brought to trial following advancements in DNA and forensic techniques.

DI Steve Smith, from the MPS Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said today:

“The verdict today brings closure for Robyn’s family and friends.

“We were able to bring Hopkins before the courts with advances in technology that were not available to us at the time of the murder. His palm print left at the scene eventually lead us to him.

“The Met police remain committed in the pursuit of violent criminals, and let this case send out a warning that unsolved case files are never closed.”

In statement from Ms Browne’s family said:

“The family are relieved that our quest for justice is over.

“We would like to thank the Metropolitan Police for the professionalism and dedication they have shown over the past decade and to Mr Nicholas Hilliard for bringing the killer our of much loved family member to justice.”