Sex swap paedophile spared ‘appalling experience’ of jail

A transsexual who downloaded pornographic images of children has been spared jail because the judge said prison would be an “appalling experience” for him.

The 20-year-old man, who was formerly known as Luke but now goes by the name Laura Voyce, has not yet completed his sex swap treatment.

He is biologically a man but he has already obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate, meaning the law recognises him as a woman.

Abused

He faced up to nine months in a male prison for 14 counts of downloading indecent images of children from the internet.

Four of the images were ‘level four’, the second most serious level, featuring semi-naked children being abused.

Voyce’s defence lawyer, Kay Driver, said her client had suffered ‘gender insecurities’ throughout his youth.

Real kids

The barrister added that Voyce would be “extremely vulnerable in a male prison environment”.

At Manchester Crown Court the judge, Lesley Newton, said she was satisfied Voyce had downloaded the images for “perverted sexual gratification”.

She added: “I take these offences very seriously; these are real children who are being abused so that people like you can look at them.

Appalling

“Frankly, you deserve to go to prison, but I can’t bring myself to send you to prison, entirely because I think prison would be an appalling experience for you.”

Voyce walked free from court with a nine-month jail term suspended for a year. He must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work and sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.

He was warned he would be immediately jailed if he fell foul of the law again.

Absurd

The judge’s decision not to imprison Voyce was criticised by children’s groups. Michelle Elliott, founder of Kidscape, said: “This ruling is absolutely absurd.

“It sends out entirely the wrong message that this transsexual’s feelings are more important than the emotions experienced by the children in these images who have gone through this terrible abuse.

“She should have gone to jail. There should be no special circumstances where child abuse is concerned.”