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Monday, 19 March, 2001, 18:34 GMT
Body dumped in sea after killing
map of Suffolk
The body was dumped at Covehithe and washed up at Kessingland
A factory worker has admitted killing his transsexual brother-in-law and then dumping the body at sea, bound in chains.

Bryan Hooley, 28, had a sex change operation in 1994 and preferred to be known as Christine Chappel after a character in the TV series Star Trek.

His brother-in-law Charles Halfacree, 37, admitted killing Ms Chappel(Hooley) during a blazing row in February last year, Norwich Crown Court was told.

Panicking, he stripped the body, bound it with chains and floated it out to sea on a lilo.

The body was washed up at Kessingland, Suffolk four days later and police launched a murder inquiry.

Charles Halfacree
Charles Halfacree... fatal row with brother-in-law
The court heard how the two were involved in a brawl at a house in Roxwell, Essex, which Ms Chappel(Hooley) shared with Alison Hooley, Halfacree's sister. The couple had separated.

Mrs Hooley, 38, was charged with perverting the course of justice but has failed to answer bail. Her whereabouts are unknown.

Halfacree, of Chelmsford, Essex, admitted manslaughter, preventing the lawful burial of a body and conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

He is due to be sentenced at Norwich next Monday.

Court victory

Godfrey Carey QC, prosecuting, said the precise cause of the fight was unknown but he said Halfacree had been unhappy about the Hooleys' attitude towards the care of a child, referred to in court only as A.

Mr Carey said Mr Hooley(Ms Chappel) had won possession of his home a week before he died, with a court ordering his wife to leave.

Friends said that on the day he disappeared Ms Chappel (Hooley) seemed happier than had been the case for a long time.

But Mr Carey said: "As soon as Halfacree dropped off his sister at the matrimonial home, there followed a row between the two men which led to a fight and Hooley's death."

Post-mortem tests suggested Ms Chappel (Hooley) suffered fatal head injuries when she hit the floor, possibly after being punched by Halfacree.

Halfacree hid the body in a shed and then pushed it into the sea at Covehithe on the Suffolk coast.

Ms Chappel( Hooley) was born in Australia, and studied electronic engineering at Salford University before moving to Essex.

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