Vanessa Santillan's Husband Stands Trial for Her Murder

Joaquin Gomez-Hernandez denies killing transgender escort wife in Fulham flat

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The husband of transgender escort Vanessa Santillan, who was killed in a flat in Fulham on March 28, is standing trial at the Old Bailey charged with her murder.

The Old Bailey heard that jealous bodybuilder Joaquin Gomez-Hernandez, aged 24, killed his wife after she had sex with a client in front of him.

Gomez-Hernandez allegedly burst into tears and told the victim: " "It's like you don't take me seriously."

Gomez-Hernandez, nicknamed 'Coco' came to the UK with his wife from their home country of Mexico two months before the murder.

Opening the trial, Prosecutor Brendan Finucane QC said Miss Santillan was "a post operative transgender" who continued working as a female escort throughout their marriage.

Mr Finucane said: "Although there is evidence they were loving towards each other, there is some evidence of discord."

Jurors heard Miss Santillan controlled the relationship and Gomez-Hernandez had to ask her for money to buy clothes and food because he did not work.

On the evening of March 27 the couple went out clubbing with friends and returned to Miss Santillan's flat at 13 Romily Court off Landridge Road in the early hours of the morning to continue drinking wine and champagne.

At around 5am the victim was contacted by a male

client who arrived at around 6am and went to the bedroom with Miss Santillan while her friends and husband remained in the lounge.

Mr Finucane told the court: "While engaged in sexual activity the defendant came into the room and was glaring at them. The deceased said or looked as if to say 'Not now'. There was brief conversation and the defendant said he wanted his keys."

One of Miss Santillan's friends noticed Gomez-Hernandez "changed and became more serious", the court heard.

The client left at 6.30am and at 7am Gomez-Hernandez left to continue drinking at the friends' flat while Miss Santillan remained behind.

Later that day, at 2.52pm CTV footage captured Gomez-Hernandez walking away from Romily Court with a blue bag. He then visited Sainsbury's in Fulham where a member of staff noticed he had a large amount of money in £20 and £50 notes. He also had scratches on his face.

Gomez-Hernandez then visited a brothel in Harrington Gardens in Fulham at 4.45pm before returning to his friends' flat and claiming that his wife was not answering the door.

The group watched as he climbed through a window into the flat before telling them: "Vanessa is on the floor, something has happened to her." When he let them in they found her lying next to the sofa.

Mr Finucane said: "It was obvious she was cold and stiff."

Gomez-Hernandez flagged down an amublance at 9.26pm, telling police that he left his wife in bed to go shopping and suggested she had been murdered by a client.

He was arrested on suspicion of murder by police at 9.45pm, the court heard.

A post-mortem examination held at Fulham Mortuary subsequently revealed that Miss Santillan had died from  " blunt force trauma to her head and neck".

A total of 13,000 - said to be the proceeds from her escort work - was also discovered in the flat but Miss Santillan's phone was never recovered.

The trial continues.


Romily Court, off Landridge Road

Miss Santillan called herself "one in a million" on her website, writing about travelling around the world and going on high fashion shopping sprees. In a recent entry she said of her stay in London: " I’m a Ts girl visiting from MIAMI FL.

"I am looking to meet upscale, respectable gentlemen, of a certain calibre, who know how to treat a lady like me."

October 9, 2015