A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a Durham University graduate who underwent gender surgery and worked as a prostitute.

Detectives launched a murder inquiry after Andrea Waddell’s body was found in a burned-out flat in Brighton, on Thursday night. She had been strangled.

Ms Waddell was born a man, but began hormone treatment while studying philosophy at Durham – ending her three-year course as Andrea Waddell.

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She underwent gender surgery while studying for a master’s degree in social and political thought at the University of Sussex.

Yesterday, a Sussex Police spokeswoman said a 42-year-old man from Brighton, arrested on Saturday night in connection with the 29-year-old’s murder was in custody.

In a statement released by Sussex Police, Ms Waddell’s family said she was born Alexander Waddell but developed ambivalent gender feelings as a teenager.

During her gender change, Ms Waddell nearly died after developing acute ulcerative colitis, but continued to live “incapacitated by pain but fiercely independent”, the statement from her parents Sonia and Robin and brother Nick said.

It ended: “We know she is now finally free of this pain and at peace.”

At a press conference in Brighton police station, Detective Chief Inspector Adam Hibbert appealed for members of Brighton’s sex industry to come forward if they had information about Ms Waddell’s death.

He said she was “discreet” about her work as a prostitute but sometimes took clients home to her one-bedroom flat, where she was thought to live alone.

Ms Waddell moved to Brighton about five years ago. She was last seen alive on Thursday.

Her car was towed away by police for forensic examination.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sussex Police on 0845-60-70-999, quoting Operation Merewood.