The family of 17-year-old murder victim Natalie Russell are outraged that her killer continues to dress as a woman in prison. Paul Denyer, who now goes by Paula, is serving three consecutive life sentences in Australian prison for the murders of three young women.
“He is in prison to be punished, not be pandered to,” a distraught Carmel Russell, mother of Natalie, told The Australian. But despite her protests, and a ban imposed by the prison, Denyer continues to dress as a woman. He also reportedly refuses to respond to any name other than Paula. Denyer has long been petitioning to be allowed to have a tax-funded sex change.
An ex-inmate who served time alongside Denyer told The Australian that the convicted serial killer fashioned bras out of found materials and received make-up from guards. Denyer reportedly works as a gardener at the prison and is its highest-paid inmate.
Prisoners with gender identity disorder present a conundrum for prisons. In one of the most famous cases in the U.S., convicted murderer Michelle Kosilek (known as Robert at the time of her crime) identifies as a woman and continues to petition the state of Massachusetts for a sex change.