Katrina Harte

Katrina Harte
Photo: ChronicleLive

Katrina Harte, a violent male who identifies as a trans woman, was convicted of possessing a disguised firearm and possession of a CS gas canister at Newcastle Crown Court in August 2016.

Harte, 53, justified possession of the weapons due to being the victim of attacks in the past and admitted buying the stun gun – disguised as a torch – as protection, and would have used the weapon “if she needed to.” 

The defendant had gender reassignment surgery six years ago and the court heard that due to a “troubled background” some of the threats Harte described may have been “perceived” rather than real.

The 53-year-old, who also had CS gas, was facing a mandatory five-year prison sentence for possessing the disguised firearm but the judge suspended the sentence after hearing details of the defendant’s background.

Police found the weapons, which were in full working order, at Harte’s home in North Shields after a support worker reported Harte had acquired them.

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court: “She explained to police in her interview she had perceived herself to be at physical risk, had been receiving abuse.

“She told them she had been assaulted two weeks before the search.

“However, she accepted she bought the firearm four weeks before the search, in Turkey.”

Recorder McKone said there were no exceptional circumstances in relation to the offence and that Parliament aims to “deter people carrying these items for protection”.

But the judge said Harte’s personal background contains “truly traumatic events” and she has mental health and anxiety issues.

Harte was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements.

Earlier in 2016, Harte sparked a major bomb scare causing evacuation of a 100 metre radius around the defendant’s home after reporting receipt of a suspicious package.

In 2013, Harte criticised the NHS for not funding a ‘tracheal shave’ operation (a cosmetic procedure to reduce the appearance of the Adam’s apple in men transitioning to live as trans women).

Also in 2013, Harte accused North Tyneside council of discrimination after a member of staff wouldn’t accept payment for a parking fine because the worker wouldn’t believe Harte was a woman. The council declined to discipline the worker involved as they say she never meant any deliberate offence.

In 2010, Harte criticised a Whitley Bay pub landlord for denying trans women patrons entry to the female toilets.

Media reports:

Evening Chronicle  http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/north-shields-transgender-woman-armed-11784738

Evening Chronicle http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/suspicious-package-north-shields-recap-10937359

Daily Mirror http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/transgender-woman-caught-working-stun-8685403

Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3460674/Bomb-disposal-experts-seal-suburban-street-North-Shields-send-robots-suspicious-package-delivered-house.html