Page last updated at 18:34 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 19:34 UK

Man cleared of transsexual murder

Kellie Telesford
Kellie Telesford worked as a florist and a beautician

A teenager has been cleared of killing a transsexual woman found strangled in her south London home.

Shanniel Hyatt, 18, denied that he killed Kellie Telesford in a rage after discovering she was a pre-operative transgender female who was born a man.

Her body was found after they engaged in sexual activity at her Thornton Heath flat, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Hyatt, from Norbury, south London, was found not guilty of murder and an alternative count of manslaughter.

Evening date

The teenager, a father-of-one whose girlfriend was away at the time of the incident, admitted meeting Ms Telesford for a date and going back to her flat.

He was filmed on CCTV leaving Ms Telesford's home in the early hours of 18 November last year, using her Oyster travel card to board a bus.

Ms Telesford, who worked as a florist and beautician, was found dead at the flat three days later. She had been strangled with a scarf.

Prosecutor Sally O'Neill told the court that Mr Hyatt stole Ms Telesford's mobile phone and electronic equipment as well as her Oyster card.

'Cheap thief'

Defending, Joanna Greenberg said Mr Hyatt was a "cheap and nasty thief" but that Ms Telesford was "fit and well" when he left her flat.

She suggested that Ms Telesford may have died during a consensual sex game which went wrong, or that she may have inflicted her fatal injuries herself.

Mr Hyatt said he only realised Ms Telesford was born a man shortly before police interviewed him.

Ms Greenberg said there were no signs that Ms Telesford fought Mr Hyatt, even though she had "a man's strength".

Mr Hyatt was remanded in custody on separate immigration matters.

Man denies transgender killing
05 Aug 08 |  London

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