Brighton man denies murdering woman in her home

Image caption,
Andrea Waddell was strangled in her flat in Upper Lewes Road

A man has denied murdering a woman he visited for sex in Brighton.

Neil McMillan, 42, is accused of strangling Andrea Waddell, 29, then setting fire to her flat in Upper Lewes Road on 15 October last year.

It is alleged that Mr McMillan, who admits visiting Ms Waddell for sex, set fire to an area around her body before fleeing.

But giving evidence at Lewes Crown Court, the satellite installer said Ms Waddell was alive when he last saw her.

Cross-examining, prosecutor Simon Russell Flint QC asked if it was the fact that Ms Waddell was born male and had undergone gender realignment surgery to become a woman that made him kill her.

Mr McMillan said he did not find out about this until after his arrest and he never suspected she had had a sex change.

He said: "I did not punch or strangle Andrea Waddell. I did not hurt Andrea Waddell in any way. I did not kill her."

'Trawling the internet'

Mr McMillan said he was not a violent person or someone who often got angry or lost control.

"I went to Upper Lewes Road for a bit of straight sex. Nothing extraordinary, if you like," he said.

Image caption,
Neil McMillan denies strangling Ms Waddell and setting fire to her flat

The court heard Mr McMillan spent a large amount of his time trawling the internet for escorts and looking at pornography.

He denied he had an "obsession" with sex.

Asked if Ms Waddell was alive when he last saw her, he said she was, adding: "She was leaning over the bath."

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

The trial continues.

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