Joanna Rowland-Stuart

BBC tweet with Community Note

Joanna Rowland-Stuart, a male who identifies as a transgender woman, was charged with the murder of Andrew Rowland-Stuart (the accused’s partner). Media reports say the murder weapon was a samurai sword.

Rowland-Stuart, aged 70, is a trans activist based in Brighton who, as director of the LGBT Community Safety Forum, has apparently previously run ‘safe spaces’ for the LGBT community at Pride and advised the police on domestic violence policy. Rowland-Stuart is currently listed as the transgender rep of the Public Health and Commercial Services Union (archive here in case of deletion) and Equality and Diversity Manager for the Learning and Skills Council.

Despite the BBC recently admitting that omission of murderer Scarlet Blake‘s trans identity from trial coverage was a breach of accuracy rules, an article on Rowland-Stuart’s court appearance used she/her pronouns and a headline that stated that a ’70-year-old woman has been charged with the murder of her husband’ – this earned a Community Note on Twitter/X, intended to correct misinformation. This may well be because similar obfuscation was used by Sussex Police in its media statement. Previously, the Home Secretary had to intervene when Sussex Police referred to trans-identified male sex offender John/Sally Dixon as a woman and labelled women’s objections as ‘hateful’ and irrelevant, despite the overwhelming majority (98%) of perpetrators of child sex offenders being male.

Rowland-Stuart appeared before magistrates in Crawley on 31 May 2024 and was remanded in custody ahead of a hearing at Lewes Crown Court on 3 June. BBC coverage of that court appearance via the Press Association (PA) continued to refer to Rowland Stuart as a ‘woman’ and the judge requested medical evidence of the defendant’s mobility issues to be presented at the pre-trial preparation hearing on 19 July. The court heard that the defendant was able to walk, but if Rowland-Stuart’s mobility is a real issue, the case would have to be transferred to another court as neither Lewes, Brighton or Hove is disability compliant. Rowland-Stuart’s cochlear implant’s batteries had also apparently failed, making it difficult for the defendant to follow the hearing via the court-assigned BSL interpreter as Rowland-Stuart has limited sign language ability.

The trial was provisionally set for 25 November, 2024.

Image credit: Screengrab via @STILLTish Link to video

Media reports

BBC News ‘Woman, 70, in court accused of husband’s murder’ archive

Brighton & Hove News archive

Spiked archive

Daily Mail archive

BBC News ‘Woman, 70, in court over husband’s death’ archive

Sussex Police statement re charge on 31 May 2024 screengrab