TDoR 2020 / 2020 / January / 14 / Kimberley McRae ("Sabrina")

Kimberley McRae ("Sabrina")

Age 69

14 Jan 2020
Sydney, New South Wales (Australia)

TDoR list ref: tgeu/14-Jan-2020/Kimberley McRae

Kimberley McRae ("Sabrina")
Kimberley McRae ("Sabrina") [photo:]

Kimberley was found dead inside her beachside apartment in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. She had been bound, gagged and had her head covered with a towel.

Kimberley McRae's body was discovered inside her apartment on Mount Street, Coogee, in Sydney's eastern suburbs, on January 14.

Daily Mail Australia has been told that in her final moments, Ms McRae's arms were restrained behind her back with cable ties, and a towel had been wrapped around her head.

The 69-year-old is believed to have been strangled to death.

More than a month on from the horror murder, NSW homicide detectives are still hunting for Ms McRae's killer - dubbed the 'Coogee strangler'.

A transgender woman who was also known by the name 'Sabrina', Ms McRae was a well-known identity around Coogee.

On 24th January a candlelight vigil was held to honour her memory.

A candlelight vigil has been held to honour the memory of NSW woman Kimberley McRae, following her tragic death this month in Coogee in Sydney’s south-east.

Police found the 69-year-old, who was transgender, dead in suspicious circumstances at her unit earlier this month.

The memorial was held in the suburb last Friday evening (January 24), attended by neighbours and local community advocates. It was organised by SWOP, the Scarlet Alliance, Trans Pride Australia, The Gender Centre and Trans Action Warrang.

A spokesperson for Trans Action Warrang said Kimberley was well-known locally. They said each group remembered her in “beautiful speeches filled with love and care” at the vigil.

“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.”

As well as a sex worker Kimberley was a published author under the penname Isabella Lawson:

Under the name Isabella Lawson, Ms McRae wrote a book last year titled 'Hey Boys, She's Got a Gash and other Tales of Gods - A Memoir' - which detailed the struggles of being transgender.

'Isabella Lawson lays her soul bare in this intense and beautiful memoir. Lawson’s life is rich in experience, she’s pretty much tried everything and built an anthology that she articulates with bold poetic prose,' a description of the book read.

'Maintaining a hopeful outlook without blame or regret she shines a spotlight on conservative Australia in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the harsh values and gender repression and expectation.'

In March 2020 New South Wales police sought the extradition of a 20 year old Colombian student from the Caribean island of Aruba in connection with her murder. Hector Enrique Valencia Valencia was subsequently extradited and admitted killing her.

NSW Police are seeking the extradition of a man arrested in the Caribbean over the alleged murder of a Sydney woman earlier this year.

Sex worker Kimberley McRae, 69, was last seen in the Harbour City's eastern suburbs on January 7.

Her body was discovered in the Coogee flat she lived alone in seven days later after her family raised concerns. Police believe it had been there for some time.

A 20-year-old Colombian student was last week arrested on the island of Aruba — a Dutch territory off the coast of Venezuela — in connection with Ms McRae's death.

In February 2023 Hector Enrique Valencia Valencia, 23, was acquitted of murder but found guilty of manslaughter.

A Colombian student who killed a sex worker in her apartment in Sydney’s eastern suburbs before fleeing the country has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Hector Enrique Valencia Valencia, 23, pleaded not guilty in the NSW Supreme Court to the murder of Kimberley McRae, 69, in Coogee in January 2020. His plea of guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter was rejected by prosecutors.

The accused gave evidence at his judge-alone trial before Justice Dina Yehia that he had become upset after discovering McRae was transgender and said he hit her in the face and stomach. Under cross-examination, Valencia agreed he had been fuelled by anger when he assaulted McRae but claimed the victim had grabbed a lamp and tried to choke him with the cord, and that he was “scared and in panic”.

The judge was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that McRae’s cause of death was asphyxiation caused by neck compression, and that Valencia had held the cord across the front of her neck “whilst pushing down with some force ... for some seconds”.

Delivering her verdicts late on Friday, Yehia found Valencia not guilty of murder, as she was not satisfied that he formed the necessary intention to make out the charge, but guilty of manslaughter. She said this finding was on the basis of it being an unlawful and dangerous act, as opposed to involving the partial defence of excessive self-defence.

In July 2023 Hector Valencia, 23, was sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison for manslaughter.

A Colombian student who killed a Sydney sex worker has been sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Hector Valencia, 23, was found guilty of manslaughter in February after he pressed a lamp cord against Kimberley McRae's neck and left the 69-year-old's body inside her Coogee apartment in January 2020.

In the New South Wales Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Dina Yehia sentenced Valencia to a 10-year prison term with a non-parole period of 6 years and 9 months. With time already served in custody included in his sentence, Valencia will first be eligible for release in November 2026.

Kimberley's Facebook profile is

Report added: 1 Mar 2020. Last updated: 13 Jul 2023

Trigger warning

This site contains reports of violence against transgender people, and links to detailed reports which contain graphic imagery.

Please continue with caution.


Get me out of here!