Four Migrants Face Trial in Connection with Transgender Woman’s Death

This photo taken on June 22, 2017 shows the paddle steamboat 'Vevey' sailing on Lake Geneva on June 22, 2017 off Saint Saphorin, western Switzerland. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Four North African migrants are facing trial for their role in the death of a transgender woman whose body was discovered in a Swiss lake last year.

The body of 27-year-old Gaëlle P. was found just off the shore of the Swiss town of Vevey on March 10th last year. Five days later, four migrants, two Algerians, a Tunisian, and a Moroccan aged between 26 and 32 — of which three were illegals — were arrested and face trial over her suspected murder, Le Matin reports.

Speaking to the Swiss paper, Gaëlle’s mother explained how her daughter, formerly her son named Michael, “only wanted to be a normal woman with a normal life.”

“She had also put an end to a tumultuous relationship with her boyfriend. She wanted to free herself from everything and take charge of her life,” she said.

In November last year, prosecutor Stephan Johner claimed that two out of the four migrants had met Gaëlle in Vevey in the evening of the murder and had gone to the lakeshore to smoke cannabis.

The 27-year-old was also alleged to have been drinking heavily and was on prescription anti-anxiety medication, reducing her tolerance to the substances. The migrants then allegedly began sexually abusing her with the fourth migrant giving the other cocaine in exchange to sexually abuse her.

The men are then said to have left the 27-year-old near the cold lake where she then fell in and despite seeing her in distress, left her there and stole her mobile phone.

The migrants initially denied sexually abusing Gaëlle but confessed after DNA belonging to three out of four of them was recovered by investigators. A judgement in the trial is expected later in the week.

The case bears similarities to the high-profile murder of a transgender prostitute in Paris, France, that saw nine illegal migrants arrested.

Vanesa Campos was killed last year in August after being shot, allegedly by a group of migrants who had previously been harassing and robbing the clients of prostitutes in the area.

Earlier this year, several more illegal migrants were arrested after they beat and robbed transgender prostitutes in the same area as the murder.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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