Kyle /Zoe Watts

Kyle Ashley Jake/Zoe Watts, a violent male who identifies as a trans woman, was convicted at Lincoln Crown Court in May 2021 of making an improvised explosive device.

Watts, 35, also pled guilty (the day before the trial was due to start) to three charges of possessing prohibited weapons and two charges of inappropriately importing goods, namely butterfly knives, following an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing East Midlands.

Concerns had first been raised by the Border Force who had intercepted packages containing the two butterfly knives and police then began searching Watts’ “rubbish strewn” property in Lincoln over several days. On finding multiple weapons and chemicals of a potentially explosive nature (including nitroglycerine, potassium nitrate and nitrocellulose) residents living nearby were evacuated on Sunday 4 October, 2020 while safety checks were carried out by the Bomb Disposal Squad and only allowed back into their homes just after 4pm.

Watts was previously a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) having worked for Lincolnshire Police for 9 years, but was formally dismissed on 22 December 2020 after being suspended on arrest. Watts was also serving as the equalities officer for Lincolnshire Police UNISON at the time of arrest and had been an LGBT trainer.

After the hearing, Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson said the force had been “shocked” by the case and Watts’ fascination with weapons. “While there was no evidence to suggest she had plans to use these, the nature of them was disturbing and quite frankly, completely incompatible with what we stand for,” she said. “We believe the explosive device could have been capable of detonating and causing injury to anyone in close proximity of it,” she added.

In court there appeared to be some concerted effort to play down Watts’ intent with the prosecution barrister stating “Unlike similar cases there is no evidence any of these items were possessed with an ideology in mind, anything political.”

However, a video on Watts’ YouTube channel provides some contradictory context to that assertion. Watts is seen demonstrating how to construct a “Lacerating Glass Bigot Twatter” consisting of broken shards of glass stuck to a baseball bat. This weapon is then used by Watts to smash a series of watermelons, with masks of politicians’ faces on them – or as Watts puts it, “simulate some bigots getting beaten up.” The final watermelon bears the face of the feminist academic Prof. Germaine Greer [at approx 6:30 in the video], who was characteristically blunt during a lecture in 2015 saying that she does not accept that men who have had operations to remove their genitalia are women, “I don’t believe a woman is a man without a cock,” she said. “You can beat me over the head with a baseball bat. It still won’t make me change my mind.”

The judge resisted requests to sentence immediately, telling Watts ‘I am going to adjourn your case for the preparation of a pre-sentence report which will address all options, including the risk you pose to others.’

Nowhere in media coverage is it made clear that Watts is a trans-identified male, despite terrorism, bomb-making and weapons charges being extremely unusual in women. By contrast, several trans identified males have been convicted on explosives/terrorism charges – see Joanne Morris and Debbie Vincent – and at least 50 trans-identified males are detailed on this site after convictions for violent offences involving weapons. See also Carol Lea, a trans-identified male who was a “trainer to Merseyside Police in areas of Equality and Diversity [who] trained staff at all levels of the Police force” before being convicted of a violent attack with a hammer on a teenage girl in 2019.

The six weapons/explosives charges that Watts was convicted of were:

  1. On October 4, 2020 knowingly had in her possession or under her control an explosive substance, namely an Improvised Explosive Device, under such circumstances as to give rise to the reasonable suspicion that she did not have it in her possession or under her control for a lawful object, Contrary to Section 4 (1) of the Explosive Substance Act 1883.
  2. On October 4, 2020 had in her possession a firearm which was disguised as another object, namely a Kelon K95 Stun Gun disguised as a mobile phone, Contrary to Section 5(1A) of the Firearms Act 1968.
  3. On October 4, 2020 had in her possession a firearm which was disguised as another object, namely a taser disguised as a mobile phone, Contrary to Section 5(1A) of the Firearms Act 1968.
  4. On October 4, 2020 had in her possession a weapon adapted for discharge of a noxious liquid, gas or other thing, namely an electric fly swat adapted to discharge an electric current towards another person, Contrary to Section 5 (1) (b) of the Firearms Act 1968.
  5. On September 5, 2020 imported a prohibited weapon, namely a butterfly knife, Contrary to Section 50 (1) and (3) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.
  6. On September 5, 2020 imported a prohibited weapon, namely a butterfly knife, Contrary to Section 50 (1) and (3) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.

Screengrab of Zoe Watts with a collection of weapons via Lincolnite. Image of Watts in PCSO uniform via Daily Mail

*Update July 2021*

Watts was sentenced to 27 months in prison in July 2021 with the judge saying that he needed to pass a substantial prison sentence to deter others from experimenting with such objects.

Watts was described in court as a hoarder with an interest in survivalism rather than a terrorist motivated by a political ideology – although Watts’ own barrister conceded that “She may unwittingly be guilty of what I would describe as a slight lack of realism.” This description was accepted despite Watts possessing such a trove of illegal weapons including explosive devices/chemicals, a mobile phone converted for use as a stun gun, instruction manuals for making a revolver and shotgun and the ‘Anarchists Cookbook’ containing instructions on making explosive devices – plus the multiple baseball bats with nails and shards of glass embedded in them that are visible in Watts’ videos.

The Lincolnite reports that experts who examined the IED concluded it was “potentially viable” and had been made from a modified shotgun cartridge which contained the chemicals nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin. A tampon wick coated in paraffin had been attached to the device and was blackened indicating it had been lit at some point.

Watts – who was diagnosed with autism after arrest – appeared via a video-link to HMP Peterborough, a private prison run by Sodexo and the only dual purpose-built prison holding both males and females in the UK. It is unknown whether Watts is held in the male or female section of the prison. In a Daily Mail article documenting how violent offences committed by trans-identified males are distorting female crime statistics, the police confirmed they “will record [Watts’] crimes as being committed by a female offender because that is Watts’s self-declared gender identity.” 

Media reports

Daily Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9776495/Violent-offences-committed-men-self-identify-female-distorting-crime-figures.html

BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-57754719

Penarth Times (AP report) https://www.penarthtimes.co.uk/news/national/19427120.ex-police-community-support-officer-jailed-ied-found-home/ archive

The Lincolnite https://thelincolnite.co.uk/2021/07/ex-lincoln-police-worker-jailed-for-two-years-over-explosives-and-guns/ archive

Daily Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9769147/Female-PCSO-35-ran-survivalist-YouTube-channel-jailed-bomb.html

BBC https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9592319/PCSO-Zoe-Watts-admits-making-BOMBS-police-raid-weapons-Lincoln-home.html

LincolnLive https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/news/lincoln-news/former-lincolnshire-pcso-zoe-watts-5428623

Police Professional https://www.policeprofessional.com/news/former-lincolnshire-police-staff-member-sentenced-for-weapons-offences/

Daily Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9592319/PCSO-Zoe-Watts-admits-making-BOMBS-police-raid-weapons-Lincoln-home.html archive

The Lincolnite https://thelincolnite.co.uk/2021/05/ex-lincoln-psco-pleads-guilty-to-explosives-and-illegal-weapons-charges/

Women Are Human https://www.womenarehuman.com/police-transgender-equalities-officer-charged-with-explosives-and-weapons-offenses/

BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-54447985

Lincolnite https://thelincolnite.co.uk/2020/11/trial-date-set-for-former-lincoln-pcso-over-homemade-explosive-charges/ archive

Lincolnite https://thelincolnite.co.uk/2020/10/transgender-police-woman-found-with-explosives-and-gun-appears-in-court/ archive

Daily Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8814479/Policewoman-34-charged-making-explosives-importing-weapons-raid-house.html

Sky News https://news.sky.com/story/police-worker-charged-with-making-explosive-substance-and-importing-weapons-12098235

Lincolnshire Live https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/news/lincoln-news/lincoln-bomb-squad-police-charge-4583364