Man 'strangled prostitute in her home'

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The Independent Online

A prostitute was strangled in her own home by a client who visited her for sex while in a "worked up and angry" mood, a court heard today.

Satellite installer Neil McMillan applied "unremitting pressure" to the neck of 29-year-old Andrea Waddell for about 20 seconds, jurors were told.

He is then alleged to have set fire to her one-bedroom, first-floor flat in Upper Lewes Road, Brighton, East Sussex, on October 15 last year.

Lewes Crown Court heard that McMillan, 42, went to his own home nearby 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 over the previous four hours.

Opening the Crown's case, he said: "We suggest he was worked up and angry."

He had taken a taxi to her flat but during the journey he told 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 to the stairs to Andrea Waddell's flat and within an hour she was dead."

He added that it was most likely that she was strangled manually by McMillan's own hands or by a broad ligature placed around her neck.

He told jurors: "This is a case about a murder, the murder of an unarmed, defenceless young woman in her own home in the middle of the night, a woman who had permitted her attacker to enter into her home for the purposes of sexual activity but who was then attacked, who was strangled by the neck until she was dead."

McMillan, of Bennett Road, Brighton, denies murder.

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."

It is claimed that McMillan - who admits visiting Ms Waddell for sex - torched an area around her body and a second part of her room before fleeing.

Neighbours who heard a smoke alarm sounding from her flat raised the alarm and her body was found without any signs of life by firefighters who arrived within four minutes.

Following her death, Ms Waddell's family revealed that she was born Alexander John, but underwent gender surgery to become a woman while studying for a Master's degree at the University of Sussex.

The prosecution will continue their opening tomorrow.