‘Despicable’ killer who brutally murdered trans ‘hero’ Amy Griffiths sentenced to life in prison

Transgender woman Amy Griffiths taking a photo of herself

The man who brutally murdered Amy Griffiths, a trans woman described as a “hero of the LGBT+ community” in Worcestershire, England, has been jailed for life.

Martin Saberi, 55, killed Amy Griffiths, 51, at her home in Droitwich Spa in January 2019. Friends described her as a community leader who “didn’t have a selfish bone in her body”.

Using a dating app, Saberi won Griffiths’ trust before murdering her with “extreme violence” and stealing her possessions, including an Xbox and a laptop, Worcester Crown Court heard Thursday (11 March).

The courts handed down a life sentence, with Saberi to serve a minimum of 24 years and 10 months in prison for the murder as well as for separate violent offence.

Judges described the killing as “despicable”, while detectives dubbed Saberi “a dangerous and violent individual”.

The killer initially pleaded not guilty for the terrifying attack but admitted to murdering Griffiths mere moments before the opening of his scheduled trial on 15 February.

Saberi also pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm for wounding another woman three days before killing Griffiths. He was, at the time, on licence after serving 16 years for armed robbery.

The second victim, 59, was stabbed by Saberi, having confronted her in a Co-op supermarket.

She was described by prosecutors as requiring a walking stick and needing some 30 switches.

The victim was, prosecutor Rachel Brand QC said, “most fortunate not to have died”.

Amy Griffiths’ killer is a ‘dangerous and violent individual’

Martin Saberi had been swapping affectionate messages with Amy Griffiths for months before killing her, the court heard. He met her just once before the killing, which took place after he drove up from his south London residence to her home in the West Midlands on 14 January.

Hours later, he went to Stoke Newington Police station in north-east London and confessed to killing Griffiths. He was then brought into custody.

“He was obviously very intoxicated,” Brand said.

“He lay on the floor in the public area of the police station for quite some time.

“Eventually, he told the person on the front desk that he had killed his friend.

“He said it had happened at three o’clock in the morning, he gave his own name and he gave the name of Amy Griffiths.”

Judge James Burbidge called his actions “despicable”, noting that he did not believe the murder was motived by transphobia.

“Your position is aggravated by your previous convictions for violence, starting with an indecent assault on a female in 1993,” he said.

“In 2000, for an offence of robbery, you were sentenced to life imprisonment after you entered a jeweller’s shop, posed as a genuine customer and produced a gun.

“So far as the killing of Amy Griffiths is concerned, I accept that your mental illness was a factor in the killing.

“Whether it was a significant factor is difficult to determine.

“There are a number of aggravating factors – Amy was killed in her own home and, when you left her dead, you stole some of her belongings – a despicable act.

“The violence you engaged in was extreme.”

“Martin Saberi is very obviously a dangerous and violent individual and today’s sentence reflects the horrific nature of both offences he pleaded guilty to, in which he attacked two women with a knife in completely unprovoked and unforgivable incidents,” detective chief inspector Carl Moore of West Mercia Police’s major investigation unit told the press.

“Amy was a much-loved, much-respected person who so many people have spoken warmly of and I know she is deeply missed by those whose lives she touched.”