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Tributes paid to lawyer killed at Tube station

Members of the transgender community have paid tribute to a renowned cross-dressing human rights lawyer who died this week when he was hit by a Tube train during rush hour.

David Burgess, 63, who was known by the name of Sonia, was killed in front of scores of commuters on Monday evening at King's Cross Station. A 34-year-old woman, Nina Kanagasingham, has been charged with his murder.

On message boards used by the transgender community a number of tributes have appeared, hailing the father of two for both his role in the community and as a human rights lawyer with Luqmani Thompson and Partners.

Suzanne Clare, who described herself as a "cross-dresser from London", posted: "I feel devastated by the meaningless destruction of a loving and gifted person. I am proud to have been one of her friends – her passing will always leave a void in my life."

Mr Burgess used well-known transgender websites both to meet partners and advertise himself as an escort. He had posted a number of profiles under the name Sonia Jardiniere.

On the website Birchplace, which bills itself as a "lifestyle fetish community", the solicitor advertised himself as an escort and posted several photographs of himself as a woman, describing himself as having a "party doll" personality.

Under the heading "Things I like", he wrote: "Fashion, make-up, shopping, romance, Look magazine, romantic films and most guys but let's not forget girls a guy is for 40mins [though maybe the next one will fall in love with me...] but a wardrobe is for a season."

Although legally a man, his family called him Sonia and were fully aware, as were his work colleagues, of his two identities.

As a solicitor he was involved in a number of key immigration and human rights cases. In 1993 Mr Burgess was instrumental in a case involving then Home Secretary Kenneth Baker, who became the first minister to be held to be in contempt for defying a court order banning the deportation of an asylum-seeker.