London

Man admits killing lawyer Sonia Burgess at King's Cross station

Sonia
Image caption Sonia Burgess was described as caring and generous

A man has admitted killing a leading human rights lawyer by pushing her under a Tube train in central London.

Sonia Burgess, 63, died during the rush hour at King's Cross in October 2010.

Senthooran Kanagasingham, 35 - who is also known as Nina - pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility at the Old Bailey.

But the prosecution did not accept the plea and Mr Kanagasingham, from Cricklewood, north London, will be tried for murder.

The court was told that for the purposes of the trial, he wished to be known by his birth name and his male gender.

'Anger and malice'

Mr Kanagasingham, who denies murder, claims he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time.

But Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said: "Significant factors other than any abnormality of mental functioning were at play."

He said the prosecution's case was that the killing was "the very deliberate murder of Sonia Burgess" and was "born of anger and malice".

The court was told that Mr Kanagasingham had "determined to kill" the victim after they both visited his GP, and she expressed her concerns about his mental health.

Just over an hour later, shocked commuters saw Mr Kanagasingham push Ms Burgess on the back.

A note found in Mr Kanagasingham's rucksack said he was "broke, depressed and suffering from gender dysphoria".

Mr Altman said Ms Burgess had built "an enviable and brilliant reputation" as a solicitor in human rights and immigration law.

'Good-looking woman'

He said: "The deceased lived as a woman and was known by friends and family as Sonia.

"I intend to refer to the deceased throughout as of the female gender because that is the wish of her family."

He added that Ms Burgess - formerly known as David Burgess - was "gender variant".

"A close friend states that physically Sonia presented as a good-looking, very slim, middle-aged woman," said Mr Altman.

"Sonia was caring and generous with her time. She was tolerant of others and she habitually helped others with their problems."

Mr Kanagasingham had been going through gender reassignment and "it had been his desire to pass completely as a woman", Mr Altman said.

He met Ms Burgess in a bar and was a frequent visitor to her Soho flat, the Old Bailey heard.

But Ms Burgess had become wary because she feared the effects of hormones prescribed to Mr Kanagasingham, the court heard.

Shortly before her death, Ms Burgess told those close to her that Mr Kanagasingham was becoming psychotic and was "imploding".

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

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