Christopher/Claire Darbyshire

Christopher/Claire Darbyshire, a violent male who identifies as a trans woman, was sentenced to life in prison for murder in March 2016. The victim was Darbyshire’s 67-year-old father Brian, who developed multiple sclerosis in 1995. Despite a life sentence being mandatory for murder in England, the minimum term of four years applied is one of the lowest for murder in UK legal history.

Claire Darbyshire, 36, suffocated Brian Darbyshire and then tried to claim they had agreed a suicide pact. However, Mr Darbyshire had not expressed any suicidal thoughts or complained about being in pain to nurses who visited him and Claire Darbyshire had previously complained to a friend about having to look after him.

Det Insp Sarah McConnell from the Met Police’s Homicide and Major Crime Command said the unanimous verdict of murder “has been welcomed by the remaining family of Brian Darbyshire.”

Christopher changed their name to Claire by deed poll in 2008 after having breast surgery and had apparently lived as a trans woman for many years.

In July 2013, Darbyshire was issued with a five-year restraining order after pleading guilty to criminal damage for breaking into the home of ex-boss and friend Lisa Forde. While inside, Darbyshire “soiled” (i.e. masturbated into) a pair of Ms Forde’s knickers as well as trying on other items of clothing. (See also Gary Marie, Shane Turner, Sam BroadhurstRoxanne Yeatman and Gina Smith for similar violations of women’s clothing for sexual gratification purposes.)

Speaking after the sentence for that offence, the victim said she felt ‘totally betrayed’ by her former friend and felt ‘unsafe’ because she didn’t know ‘how much further she could go’.

Claire Darbyshire was reported as a woman rather than a trans woman by multiple news outlets including ITV NewsThe Daily Mirror and Financial Times . Sentencing details from the Crown Court indicate that this murder will be recorded in female crime statistics rather than male, as Derbyshire’s gender is listed as female. In 2016, Ministry of Justice statistics reveal only 23 women were convicted of murder (compared to 266 men) in England and Wales, meaning that Darbyshire’s inclusion has effectively distorted and increased the female crime statistics in this category by around 5%. Likewise, Lauren Jeska‘s 2016 conviction for attempted murder will also be counted in female statistics.

Screengrab from

*Update January 2020*

In Jan 2020, Darbyshire appeared in episode 2 of an ITV documentary about HMP Belmarsh and managed to spin a somewhat unconvincing sob story about regretting managing to kill poor Brian Darbyshire but not themself. In contrast to the picture painted of life for trans-identified male prisoners in male prisons, Darbyshire seemed well integrated in the prison with a trusted job and good relationships with staff and other prisoners, who were shown marking Darbyshire’s birthday. Various media articles sympathetically covered Darbyshire’s stunning and brave story of murdering a vulnerable, disabled relative.

Media coverage in 2020 revealed Darbyshire had indeed served just the minimum 4 year term and was using the documentary appearance to raise money via a GoFundMe page and spinning the murder of Brian Darbyshire and various local authorities’ disinterest in prioritising providing council accommodation for an able-bodied ex-prisoner of barely 40 years old with no dependants as “I have spent four years being punished for doing the morally right thing and now it seems I am still being punished.”

Photo via Met Police

Media reports:

My London  archive


Daily Mirror

Evening Standard  archive

Barking & Dagenham Post

Daily Mail