London

Man jailed for killing Sonia Burgess at King's Cross station

Sonia Burgess
Image caption Sonia Burgess was a leading human rights and immigration lawyer

A man who pushed a lawyer under a Tube train in central London has been jailed at the Old Bailey for her manslaughter.

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

Senthooran Kanagasingham, who is also known as Nina, was cleared of murdering Ms Burgess, who was transgender, but had earlier admitted manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.

Kanagasingham, 35, of Cricklewood, north London, was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least seven years.

He was undergoing sex-change treatment at the time of the killing, the jury heard.

The prosecution had refused to accept Kanagasingham's plea of manslaughter and he was put on trial for murder.

The jury heard he had paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the killing.

Judge Stephen Kramer told Kanagasingham Ms Burgess had been "a really good and generous friend to you".

'I'm guilty'

The victim, a leading human rights and immigration lawyer, had befriended Kanagasingham and introduced him to his GP because she was worried about the killer's mental state.

Ms Burgess had told people close to her that Kanagasingham was becoming psychotic and was "imploding", the court heard.

Eyewitnesses to the killing said Kanagasingham looked "calm", "blank" and "empty" and, when confronted by fellow commuters, he said: "I'm guilty, I'm guilty, I surrender", the court heard.

A note was found in his rucksack which said he was "broke, depressed and suffering from gender dysphoria", the jury heard.

Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said Ms Burgess, who had three children, had "an enviable and brilliant reputation".

Image caption Senthooran Kanagasingham pushed Ms Burgess from behind

Outside her professional life the "caring and generous" lawyer lived as a woman but did not want to undergo sex-change surgery. Her family and friends had "accepted and embraced" her, the QC told the court.

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

"She was tolerant of others and she habitually helped others with their problems."

She met Kanagasingham, of Chichele Road, in a bar and he used to visit her at her flat in Soho.

'Truly an inspiration'

But Ms Burgess had been wary of the killer, who was going through gender reassignment, and had fears over the effects of hormones prescribed to Kanagasingham, the court heard.

The victim's three grown-up children were present at the sentencing, having travelled from their homes in Canada and South Korea.

In a victim impact statement to the court, daughter Dechem said her father wanted to "push back the boundaries to allow individuals to be who they were as long as it did not hurt anyone".

A statement from the family said: "With regards to Senthooran Kanagasingham, we hope that he receives any help he needs; this is what Sonia would have wanted and was indeed what she was trying to help him find.

"Sonia was truly an inspiration and even in death her lesson to love and put others before one's self continues to shine through and will not be forgotten."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites