Man admits to killing Sydney trans woman Kimberley McRae

Kimberley McRae murder accused
Images: NSW Police

A Colombian man accused of murdering Sydney sex worker Kimberley McRae has had a manslaughter plea rejected as he admits he killed her after learning she was transgender.

But in the NSW Supreme Court this week, Hector Enrique Valencia Valencia (above inset) pleaded not guilty to McRae’s murder in her Coogee apartment in January 2020.

Warning: distressing content

Kimberley was found dead inside the unit on January 14, 2020. In March, the 23-year-old Colombian national was arrested on the Caribbean island of Aruba. NSW Police returned the student to Australia to face the murder charge in November that year.

The court heard this week Valencia admitted to assaulting and unlawfully killing McRae, who was 69, but denied murder. However the Crown prosecutor has rejected the man’s lesser manslaughter plea, AAP reported.

Valencia’s lawyer Claire Wasley said the man arranged the meeting via an online ad by McRae on January 8. But halfway through, Valencia initiated a physical altercation, punching McRae in the stomach and face.

“It is the accused’s case that he did not know the deceased was 69 years of age or was transgender,” the lawyer told the court.

“The accused then lost self-control.”

Crown prosecutors told the court Valencia then wrestled McRae on the ground after punching her.

Valencia did this with either an intent to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm, prosecutors alleged, which the 23-year-old denied.

Valencia claims after he punched McRae, she attacked him with a lamp and he claims he feared for his life.

“The accused was naked and the deceased was between him and the door. The accused wanted to leave but he could not,” Wasley said.

An autopsy found McRae had died from compression on her neck.

Text messages admitting to killing read in court

After losing contact, McRae’s twin sister raised concerns about her and she was found dead in her Coogee apartment.

Valencia, who was studying in Australia, boarded a flight to Colombia on January 11.

The Colombian man told the court he submerged McRae’s mobile phones in a toilet to try and destroy earlier text messages between them.

The court also heard Facebook messages Valencia allegedly sent to a friend a day before leaving Australia.

In the texts, he allegedly told the friend he “threw his life away” and he was “escaping” to Colombia because he did not want to “end up in jail in Australia.”

Valencia allegedly messaged the friend that he “believes he killed” the sex worker.

“I better go Colombia before they catch me… I do not know if she is dead but she must be after what happened,” the court heard he wrote.

The trial continues in the NSW Supreme Court.

Coogee locals mourned Kimberley McRae at candlelight vigil

After Kimberley McRae’s death in January 2020, neighbours and local LGBTIQ+ advocates held a candlelight vigil in Coogee to honour her memory.

A spokesperson for Trans Action Warrang said at the time Kimberley was well-known in her area and mourners remembered her with “beautiful and caring” speeches.

“Kimberley’s neighbour spoke about how loved she was by her local community,” they said.

“Local children from the area made a poster with their favourite memories of Kimberley written down.

“Kimberley was known to one child as ‘a Barbie mermaid’ due to her kind nature and long blonde hair.

“Vale Kimberley. We won’t ever forget you.”

If this has brought up issues for you, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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