Transsexual locked up indefinitely for death threat and arson

A TRANSEXUAL has been locked up indefinitely after she threatened to kill a taxi driver with a hunting knife and torched her flat.

Joanne Spencer, 47, escaped a life sentence after swinging a large hunting knife at the cab driver's head during the incident in July, Leeds Crown Court heard.

In June Spencer torched her own flat on Thornbury Road, Thornes, after a row with 76-year-old neighbour Margaret Ward.

When police arrived they found Spencer wearing a gas mask and camouflage clothing.

She refused to leave the flat despite smoke billowing from vents and blackening the windows.

Spencer told officers she wanted to burn to death rather than die from the fumes.

But today Judge Peter Collier QC said Spencer had led a "sad and tragic life" and jailed her indefinitely to protect the public.

Judge Collier said: "For the protection of the public I am required to pass upon you a sentence of imprisonment for the public's protection."

He said Spencer - who used to be man but underwent a sex change operation - would not be considered for parole for at least three years.

Spencer, of no fixed abode but formerly of Thornbury Road, Thornes, pleaded guilty to reckless arson, making a threat to kill and possessing an offensive weapon.

Defending, Rebecca Young said: "She has extremely deep-rooted difficulties relating to her gender and to failed surgery."

For more on this story, see Friday's Express.