Prisoner in Wakefield jail used ‘transgender persona’ to rape vulnerable women

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A “predatory” and “manipulative” transgender woman who committed multiple sexual assaults after being placed in a female prison in Wakefield has been jailed for life.

Karen White, 52, previously known as Stephen Wood and David Thompson, used her persona to put herself into contact with vulnerable people, a court heard.

White began gender reassignment when first remanded into custody into a female prison, prosecutor Christopher Dunn told Leeds Crown Court.

She began gender re-alignment after being sent to prison for stabbing a neighbour and it was then that police also probed allegations she had raped two vulnerable women.

While in HMP New Hall - the female prison in Wakefield - she started wearing a wig, make-up and false breasts, the court heard.

She then attacked two women inmates while at New Hall between September and October 2017 while on remand for other offences.

White has since been moved to HMP Leeds, a male prison.

Prosecutor Christopher Dunn told the court: “There’s smatterings of evidence in this case that the defendant’s approach to transitioning has been less than committed.

“The prosecution suggest the reason for the lack of commitment towards transitioning is so the defendant can use a transgender persona to put herself in contact with vulnerable persons she can then abuse.”

White previously pleaded guilty to three counts of rape against two women outside of custody. She also admitted two of sexual assault within prison at Leeds Crown Court and was found guilty of wounding following a trial at Bradford Crown Court.

White had previous convictions of indecent exposure, indecent assault and gross indecency.

The offences of indecent assault and gross indecency were on a nine-year-old and a 12-year-old boy, the court heard.

Addressing the defendant, Judge Christopher Batty said: “You are 52 years of age. You are a predator and highly manipulative and in my view you are a danger.

“You don’t accept any responsibility [for the offences].”

White, from Mytholmroyd, near Hebden Bridge, was given a life term with a minimum term of eight years and 116 days.