The prison service has apologized after a transgender sex offender was placed in an all-female prison and went on to sexually assault two women inmates.
Karen White was born a man but – despite having a history of sex attacks – was placed in women’s prison HMP New Hall after telling authorities of his identification as a woman.
While in the women’s prison, ‘predator’ White sexually assaulted two female inmates.
Prosecutors said White- who appeared in court via video link wearing a patterned blouse and glasses with shoulder-length blond hair- used a ‘transgender persona’ to gain access to vulnerable females.
The 52-year-old- who was previously convicted in 2001 for indecent assault and gross indecency with a child- has now been ordered to serve a life sentence for the jail sex attacks and two rapes carried out when he was still a man.
The prison service today admitted mistakes were made when White was assigned to the all-female jail.
A spokesman said: ‘We apologize sincerely for the mistakes which were made in this case. While we work to manage all prisoners, including those who are transgender, sensitively and in line with the law, we are clear that the safety of all prisoners must be our absolute priority.’
The sentence will be served in a men’s jail, where White has since been moved.
Christopher Dunn, prosecuting, told the court: ‘She is allegedly a transgender female.
‘The prosecution say allegedly because there are smatterings of evidence in this case that the defendant’s approach to transition 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 had previous convictions for indecent assault, indecent exposure and gross indecency involving children, in a campaign of attacks which started when he was a man known as Stephen Wood and living in Manchester.
Despite having previously cross-dressed, he began identifying as a woman while awaiting trial for attacking a neighbor last August.
White was therefore allowed to live in a women’s jail while on remand and carried out the two sex attacks on women inmates between September and October last year.
White was jailed for two counts of rape, the two sexual assaults in jail and one offense of wounding.
Parole will not be considered for at least nine-and-a-half years.
Passing sentence, Judge Christopher Batty told the defendant: ‘You are a predator and highly manipulative and in my view you are a danger. You represent a significant risk of serious harm to children, to women and to the general public.’
Mr. Dunn told the court White was arrested after attacking a 66-year-old neighbor with a steak-knife in Mytholmroyde, West Yorkshire last August 15.
White stabbed the woman with the knife and told her ‘I’m going to kill you,’ during the terrifying attack.
While on remand at HMP New Hall, an incident took place in the queue for prisoners to get medication on September 13 last year.
Prosecutor Mr. Dunn said: ‘The complainant while waiting, felt something hard press against the small of her back. She turned around to see the defendant stood there. She could see the defendant’s penis erect and sticking out of the top of her pants, covered by her tights.’
The matter was then reported to police and another prison assault came to light.
Another inmate told how she was in the prison workshop with White when the defendant was making ‘inappropriate comments about blow jobs.’
White then grabbed the woman’s hand and put it on the defendant’s left breast with the words: ‘Oh look, they are not real ones.’
White admitted both offenses of sexual assault.
It then came to light that the trail of misery wrought by White extended back to 2003 when he was still living as a man.
White, then known as Stephen Wood, had offered to help decorate a flat belonging to the wife of a friend.
While in the flat, White secretly spiked the woman’s drink with vodka until she passed out, then raped her.
The victim told the court in a statement the attack had ruined her life and her husband had not believed her.
In a statement to the court, she said: ‘I have no relationships with anyone. I felt very dirty as a woman. I became very depressed.
‘Even now 15 years on I still struggle with mental health and suffer horrendous flashbacks. Until 15 years ago I was a strong woman.’
White also violently raped another woman in 2016, after they met at a psychiatric unit in West Yorkshire.
Mr. Dunn said it left his victim ‘vulnerable, demotivated, demoralized and terrorized’.
In a victim impact statement, she said she had tried to take her own life and was worried she cannot have children due to the ‘internal damage’ from the rapes.
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