Christopher/Crystal Hunnisett

Christopher/Crystal Hunnisett, a violent male who identifies as a trans woman, was convicted of murder and jailed for life at Lewes Crown Court in 2012.

Hunnisett, 28, strangled Peter Bick, 57, in Bexhill, East Sussex and hit him over the head repeatedly with a hammer in January 2011. The judge imposed a minimum term of 18 years for the particularly brutal murder. 

Hunnisett had begun a relationship with Mr Bick via an online dating site after having placed his name on a “hit list” of potential child sex offenders compiled from heresay by fellow prisoners. The jury heard there was “not a shred of evidence” Mr Bick was a paedophile. Hunnisett leapt from the dock after the guilty verdict and had to be restrained by eight guards.

Just four months prior to the murder of Mr Bick in 2010, Hunnisett had been acquitted at a retrial of drowning and dismembering 81-year-old Rev Ronald Glazebrook in 2001. The defendant had been jailed for eight years for killing the priest and at the retrial subsequently accused Rev Glazebrook of sexual assault; Hunnisett told the court the killing was self-defence.

The judge, Mr Justice Saunders, warned Hunnisett was an “extremely dangerous man” who “may well kill again” if released in the foreseeable future and that “The time may never come when this defendant is considered safe to be released.”

In 2017, Hunnisett, now aged 33, appeared in the High Court alleging a human rights violation against the prison service as Hunnisett could not access the same education, work, church and visiting opportunities as other inmates while being held in isolation at HMP Frankland.

From around October 2015, Hunnisett had begun identifying as a woman and told the court that ‘I have cut off my testicles and sliced the shaft of my penis in half,’ and that the prison had shown a ‘lack of respect’ by referring to these actions ‘as self-harm surgery’ and by continuing to refer to the prisoner as ‘he’ or ‘him’.

Ruling against Hunnisett, Justice Langstaff said the prison’s decision on where to hold the prisoner was ‘lawful’ and for their own protection.

Throughout the coverage of the High Court decision, Hunnisett was referred to as a woman and female pronouns used.

*Update 2021*

In March 2021, an application to appeal Hunnisett’s conviction for the murder of Mr Bick was rejected by three high court judges.  The BBC (using female pronouns for Hunnisett throughout) reported that Dame Victoria Sharp said the apparent basis for the fresh evidence was Hunnisett’s “delusional ideas” as part of “psychotic illness”. However, the judge said these delusions were described by those who examined Hunnisett ahead of the trial in 2012 and the jury had the opportunity to assess them before rejecting a defence of diminished responsibility.

Media reports:

BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-56287978

The Argus https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/19137941.christopher-hunnisett-killer-loses-bid-overturn-ruling/

Metro http://metro.co.uk/2017/02/22/transgender-prisoner-told-rights-arent-being-violated-after-diy-sex-change-6465939/

BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-18159887 archive

BBC http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-sussex-18022501

The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/may/22/vigilante-murdered-gay-man

The Sun https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/607254/cleared-to-kill/

Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1346700/Former-altar-boy-killed-dismembered-paedophile-vicar-quizzed-murder-bachelor.html

Daily Mirror http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/jailed-killer-who-chopped-testicles-9882176

Hastings Observer http://www.hastingsobserver.co.uk/news/cleared-of-one-murder-questioned-on-another-1-2304589