More time to quiz prostitute murder suspect

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Detectives were today given more time to question a 42-year-old man arrested on suspicion of the murder of a prostitute whose strangled body was found in a burned-out flat.

Andrea Waddell's body was found by firefighters in her first floor flat in Upper Lewes Road, Brighton, shortly before midnight on Thursday.

A 42-year-old from Brighton was arrested on Saturday night but Sussex Police were today granted an extension by magistrates to continue questioning him.

Detective Chief Inspector Adam Hibbert, who is leading the inquiry, has appealed for other members of Brighton's sex industry to come forward if they have information about Ms Waddell's death.

Her family have revealed 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.

Her parents, Sonia and Robin, and brother Nick, said the 29-year-old saw a psychiatrist after developing ambivalent gender feelings as a teenager growing up in Reading, Berkshire.

She began hormone treatment while studying philosophy at Durham University and ended her three-year course as Andrea Joanna, before undergoing gender surgery while studying for a master's degree in social and political thought.

During this time Ms Waddell nearly died after developing acute ulcerative colitis but continued to live "incapacitated by pain but fiercely independent", a statement released on behalf of the family by Sussex Police read.

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

Police have not disclosed what Ms Waddell was strangled with or whether her body was set on fire.

Mr Hibbert said 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.

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," he said.

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 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.

Detectives are continuing to appeal for witnesses and anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area or who has any information about the incident is urged to contact Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999, quoting Operation Merewood.