SEX CHANGE LOVER ON MURDER CHARGE

FORMER HOMES: The house on The Front, Seaton, where Lawson lived, and (below) the house in Turnbull Street, where Mr Cutler lived

FORMER HOMES: The house on The Front, Seaton, where Lawson lived, and (below) the house in Turnbull Street, where Mr Cutler livedA TEENAGE transexual murdered his boyfriend when he would not fund expensive sex-change treatment and an operation, a jury has heard.

Karen Lawson, 19, who has changed his name from Mark Lawson by deed poll, told police how he suffocated and strangled his 43-year-old partner.

Then Lawson, formerly of The Front, Seaton Carew, wrapped the body in a sheet and duvet, leaving it in a utility room at their flat in Beechcroft, Prestwich, Greater Manchester.

It was found three weeks later, but was so badly decomposed that a pathologist could not ascertain the cause of death, Manchester Crown Court was told yesterday.

Prosecutor John Rowe QC said the killing was probably on March 20-21 and a few days later Lawson returned to his native North-East.

Arrested in Hartlepool three days after the body was found, Lawson denied involvement, but later confessed, claiming he had been provoked by 43-year-old Michael Cutler, also formerly of Hartlepool.

He alleged Mr Cutler was violent towards him, would not agree to him having sex change treatment or to pay for it.

Lawson told police he suddenly snapped in a bedroom argument when he claimed Cutler struck him.

A direct debit had been set up to pay for treatment, but cancelled by his partner, who had said he felt the operation would ruin their relationship.

Lawson said he was punched by Michael, but he got him onto the bed and used a pillow to try to suffocate him before strangling him with a pair of ladies tights.

Mr Rowe said Lawson claimed the bedroom row brought back unhappy memories of mistreatment by his stepfather when he was considering a sex change and had obtained women s clothing.

He said it was likely psychiatrists would give evidence and provocation was likely to be an issue in the trial.

Mr Cutler lived for many years at Turnbull Street, Hartlepool. Lawson, of Stainton Grove, Barnard Castle, Co Durham, has denied murdering him.

(Proceeding)