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Caerphilly Crime South Wales

Female sex offender to serve sentence in men’s prison

Cardiff Crown Court

A CHILD sex offender followed a 16-year-old girl around a hospital and showed her messages which read “Do you want to f***?” and “I love you, I want to bang you”. 

The defendant violated an order that barred her from having unsupervised contact with children.

Transgender Leah Harvey, 28, of Caerphilly, harassed her victim at Cwmbran’s Grange University Hospital in the early hours of October 2 last year. The defendant had already been discharged from the hospital after suffering a panic attack, but she remained on the premises in an attempt to pursue the victim.

A sentence hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Monday (Feb 13) heard how Harvey had three previous convictions for attempting to cause or incite a child to participate in sexual conduct, as well as a conviction for attempting to meet a minor following sexual grooming.

Harvey had been made subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order (SHPO). She was sentenced to three-years in prison for the offence. She will serve her time in a men’s prison. It is believed that this element of the sentence is not currently under consideration.

Prosecutor Ruth Jones told the court that Harvey was discharged at approximately 4am but remained there until 8.22am. 

She started following the victim at 2am and scribbled “Do you want to f***?” on her hand, which she presented to the victim. When the victim went outside to smoke, the defendant followed her and inquired about her sexuality and how many people she had slept with.

She also showed her an ankle tag and the contents of her bag, which included sanitary towels and a notebook book with a picture of a topless woman on the front.

Harvey also waited outside the toilets after the victim had gone in there and then continued to follow her. 

When the victim went outside again for another cigarette, the defendant showed messages she had written on her phone. They read: “I love you so much babe, I want to get on you. I want to snog you so hard. Do you want to come to town with me? We can get a drink” and “I love you so much, I want to bang you”. 

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Harvey laughed as the victim read these messages. Ms Jones told the court that the victim said she felt “uncomfortable” at Harvey’s closeness and persistence.

A member of the public at the hospital called the police and Harvey was subsequently arrested at her home in Hafodyrynys Road, Crumlin. She made no comment to questions posed to her. She later pleaded guilty to breaching a SHPO by having unsupervised contact with a child. The court heard that this was Harvey’s fourth breach of the order.

A previous court hearing on December 12 last year was told Harvey had experienced “gender issues”. She had been remanded at HMP Parc, a men’s jail, and was to go through an “evaluation  test” to see if she would be transferred to HMP Eastwood Park, a women’s prison.

Transgender women with male genitalia, or those convicted of a sexual offence, will no longer be detained in a women’s prison under recent Ministry of Justice reforms in England and Wales. According to the MoJ, only the most exceptional cases will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by ministers. At present, more than 9 per cent of transgender women in prison are held in men’s prisons, and most do not request a move to a women’s prison.

Following an urgent review of the treatment of Isla Bryson, a transgender double rapist who was initially sent to a female prison, the Scottish Prison Service reversed guidelines developed with the Scottish Trans Alliance that a transgender person taken into custody would be held in a prison that matched their acquired gender. All transgender prisoners who enter the Scottish prison system will first be sent to prisons that correspond to their birth gender.

In mitigation, Karl Williams stated that Harvey made no physical attempt to seize the victim. He said the defendant wishes to be released from custody as soon as possible and “will never do this again”. 

While in prison, he said Harvey has connected with the Christian/Catholic group and had taken “positive steps”. The court also heard that she has a learning difficulty and autism, all of which were said to have contributed to her criminal behaviour and impulsivity.

Sentencing, Judge Nicola Saffman said: “This is your fourth breach of the order. Police have attempted significantly to support you in complying with the order whilst you were on licence. There has been an allegation you have sexually assaulted a male prisoner and been verbally abusive to prison officers.”

Harvey was sentenced to a total of three years imprisonment. The sexual harm prevention order will continue to run indefinitely.