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18 February 2009

Christine Chappel (1972 - 2000) electrical goods retailer.

Bryan Hooley was born in Perth, Western Australia. After moving to the UK he studied electronic engineering at Salford University.

He married Alison Halfacree in 1990 and moved to Roxwell, Essex to be with his wife. They had a daughter in 1992.

Hooley transitioned to female in 1994 and became Christine Chappel (after the nurse in Star Trek), but did not legally change her name.

In 1996 she claimed in court that she had had a two-year relationship with Rev Christopher Awdry whom she met at a model railway show in Chelmsford. Awdry is the son of Rev Wilbert Awdry who created the Thomas the Tank Engine series of books. She claimed that she had written some of the new books. The court found in favour of Rev Audry.

She sometimes appeared as Christine, and sometimes as Bryan. She was working at an electrical store in Chelmsford. In 2000 Christine won possession of the family home in court, which also ordered Alison to leave.

Shortly afterwards Christine disappeared. Her naked body washed up on a Suffolk beach weighted down by gym weights. She was identified by her fingerprints.

After an investigation, her brother-in-law, Charles Halfacree pleaded guilty to manslaughter, preventing the lawful burial of a body and conspiring to pervert the course of justice. They had had a fight. Halfacree is seven stones (44 kg) heavier than Chappel, and is 6’4” (1.93 m). During the fight her head hit a door frame. Halfacree hid the body for a month, and then he put it on a lilo and floated it out to sea. He was jailed for four years and three months.

Alison jumped bail, spent some time in Scotland, and then went to Poole, Dorset where she was arrested. She was sentenced to 18 months for perverting the course of justice and one month for absconding.

It is not explained how the police had her fingerprints to match against.

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