Mark Woodley

Silhouette image via Wikimedia Commons

Mark Woodley, a male who identifies as a trans woman, was convicted of possessing over 2000 indecent images of children at Aylesbury Crown Court in December 2016, and was jailed for six months.

Woodley, 39, blamed “gender dysphoria” for becoming a paedophile after self-presenting at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Woodley’s defence team referred to a psychiatric report by Dr Michael Alcock which said: “The backdrop to this offending is rooted in his gender dysphoria. “He had an issue with his gender identity from a very young age of three years which he has tried to suppress. He has been suicidal because of his position and having to effectively come out to those around him.”

Judge Francis Sheridan, however, questioned this line of defence, asking “How does viewing little children being raped help with his gender identity?” The defence team said Woodley was “curious” to find out if he was a paedophile after he learned his father was charged with sex offences. “It was curiosity.. if there was a passing on of that. Having looked at the images he then goes to fantasise whether he would like to be a young female child and that is the gist of it.”

The lawyer, who was unable to explain his client’s actions further, then urged the judge to give Woodley a suspended sentence. “He would be exceptionally vulnerable if he were imprisoned immediately,” he said.

The judge disagreed and cited established prison procedures for protecting vulnerable prisoners and imposed three six-month jail terms – one for each category of the images – to run concurrently.

Woodley admitted possession of 97 of the most serious category of indecent child images, 74 of the second and 1,906 belonging in the least serious category, all found on a home computer. Judge Sheridan described the images as including the oral, anal and vaginal rape of a baby girl and other children, all causing “immense” psychological harm to the children.

A Sexual Harm Prevention Order restricting Woodley’s internet access was made and the defendant was signed on to the Sex Offenders Register for seven years.

A charge of possessing a class B drug was left on file after a cannabis plant was also found during the raid on Woodley’s home.

Compare this to another judge’s lenient treatment when suspending the 10 month sentence Gillian Newley received for possession 14,000 CSA images, namely “I have some sympathy with the situation in which you find yourself and your confusion over your sexual identity and sexual matters generally.” Newley had claimed to want to “know what it would be like to be a female child as she missed out”.

Media reports:

Milton Keynes Citizen