A satellite installer from from Brighton has been jailed for a minimum of 22 years for murdering Andrea Waddell, a trans woman.

Neil MacMillan, 41, of Bennett Road, denied the 29-year-old’s murder but was found guilty last week.

Lewes Crown Court heard he had visited the graduate for paid sex at her Brighton flat on October 15th last year.

The court heard MacMillan had gone to her home drunk and in an angry and “worked up” state.

He had punched her and strangled her to death before setting alight the bedding around her naked body.

Waddell’s body was discovered when neighbours saw smoke.

Police could not uncover a motive for the killing but speculated MacMillan may have been unaware she was born male when he booked her services as a prostitute.

The jury was asked to consider this possibility, along with the theory that Waddell’s health problems such as fibromyalgia may have meant she was unable to sleep with him that night.

MacMillan was given a life sentence last Friday and was told by the judge he could expect to serve at least 22 years in prison.

Following the sentence, Waddell’s family released a statement saying: “As a family, we can now remember Andrea, her passions and the causes she fought for during her life, knowing that the person who callously extinguished that life is behind bars.”

They added they hoped her story would inspire others “to live their lives true to themselves and not to judge other people for their differences”.

Detective Chief Inspector Adam Hibbert, who described the attack as brutal, said: “Andrea was a young woman who had her whole life ahead of her and it was cruelly cut short. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at what is still a very difficult time.”

He also thanked Brighton’s LGBT and sex worker communities for helping with the investigation.