Man found guilty of murdering trans woman Naomi Hersi

A man has been found guilty of drugging and murdering trans woman Naomi Hersi in a hotel in Hounslow, west London, in March.

University dropout Jesse McDonald, 25, had denied murdering 36-year old Hersi. He was found guilty of murder and of perverting the course of justice at the Old Bailey on Friday (October 26) and will be sentenced at a future date.

The jury took 17 hours to deliberate on the case, the Press Association reported.

The 25-year old’s girlfriend at the time, Natalia Darkowska, was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice on Friday as she accepted McDonald’s request for help in cleaning the hotel room.

“When it was done, when she was dead, he tried to clean it up and avoid detection” (Naomi Hersi/Twitter)

“Once she understood what had to be done, she went to buy the necessary things and tried to help and support him through it,” Prosecutor Mark Heywood told the court in September.

He added: “Each was thinking only of themselves and each other – without a care for the deceased, whom they believed was unlikely, because of her lifestyle, to be missed.”

Hersi, who lived in Mill Hill, north-west London, met McDonald on a hook-up website, FabSwingers and the two spent three days together before heading to the Heathrow Palace Hotel, where McDonald had been staying.

McDonald was accused of drugging Hersi, before killing her with a knife and broken bottle. “After a time, he drugged her, fought with her and eventually killed her, stabbing and cutting her multiple times with a broken bottle and knife and perhaps other things in order to achieve her death,” the prosecutor said during the trial, quoted in the Metro newspaper.

McDonald was found guilty at the Old Bailey. (Facebook/Old Bailey Insight)

Heywood added: “When it was done, when she was dead, he tried to clean it up and avoid detection.”

During the course of the trial, the court was told that McDonald had contacted Hersi online 45 minutes after arriving home from visiting his girlfriend, who was 17 at the time.

He ignored Darkowska’s increasingly persistent attempts to get in touch with him, before sending her a message days later which read: “Baby I been [sic] a f**king idiot.”

In another message, he added: “I love u so much. Not cheated x. Got addicted to a nasty drug I had never met before.”

McDonald claimed self-defence, saying that he had been drugged with GHB, but forensic toxicologist Vincent Cirimele said that the man presented no trace of the drug.

Cirimele reported that tests showed McDonald had also used testosterone, cocaine and cannabis, and that McDonald’s use of amphetamines—including crystal meth and MDMA—was “high to medium when compared to other recreational users.”

This caused him to think that the 25-year-old was “a regular and repeated user of the drugs.”

Hersi is one of many trans women to have been killed this year.

Josh Jackman contributed to this report.