Martin Tarling/Abbi Taylor

Martin Tarling/Abbi Taylor, a male who identifies as a transgender woman, was charged with nine offences at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in December 2023. According to media reports, these include:

  • Four counts of dumping bags of toxic materials, namely nappies containing human waste, at nurseries on South Tyneside, contrary to the Environmental Protection Act
  • A charge of outraging public decency, ‘by behaving in an indecent manner, namely by being inside a bin containing the waste of children, including with soiled nappies and disclosed garments and interacting with the soiled nappies in sight of the public’
  • Criminal damage by smearing excrement on milk bottles ‘intended for consumption by small children’ and on other parts of a nursery building, including the fire escape
  • Intentionally or recklessly causing a public nuisance between October 2022 and November 2023 at South Tyneside, without reasonable excuse, by continuously dumping adult human waste and other materials on the street and at nursery premises and interfering with the contents of clinical waste bins containing faecal matter from children and babies
  • Theft of a roll of clinical waste bags from a local nursery
  • Breaching a criminal behaviour order imposed by Nottinghamshire Magistrates’ Court in April this year, by being within 10 metres of a nursery without reasonable excuse, and/or ‘by removing items from a waste receptacle in direct contravention of said order’

Denis Rice, for South Tyneside Council, called the case ‘complicated’ and summarised it as ‘dumping soiled adult nappies, interfering with nappies at a nursery, smearing milk bottles with excreta and the theft of nappy bags and associated offences’.

Tarling was granted conditional bail and the case was sent to Newcastle Crown Court for a next appearance on January 16, 2024. No pleas were entered at the hearing.

*Update January 2024*

Tarling appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on 16 January 2024 and pleaded not guilty to three counts of depositing controlled waste at three different children’s nurseries, i.e. knowingly illegally disposed of controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution to the environment and/or harm to human health by disposing of bags of nappies containing human waste between October and November 2023. Tarling further denied the charges of theft of clinical waste bags from one of the nurseries in December 2022 and damaging property (the charges related to smearing faeces on milk bottles and a fire escape) at another nursery in October 2023.

Sky News tweets deleted and reposted after >1000 complaints

Tarling also pleaded not guilty to acting in breach of a criminal behaviour order by being at or within ten metres of a children’s nursery and removing items from a waste container between April and November 2023 and also denied causing a public nuisance at or near a children’s nursery. An eighth charge of outraging public decency “by being inside a bin containing soiled nappies and disclosed garments and interacting with soiled nappies within sight of the public” was apparently not put to the defendant.

Some media evaded naming Tarling as a woman or man in headlines by using ‘Defendant’ but outlets such as Sky and the Northern Chronicle (“South Shields woman…“) chose to name Tarling as a ‘woman’, use female pronouns and report that “she has formally and officially changed her identity.” After at least a thousand Twitter/X users complained, Sky News changed the article copy (see archive) to now read “transgender woman” and deleted a tweet before reposting the link (see right).

Tarling is due to stand trial in March 2025 and was released on conditional bail.

Image credit: PA via Daily Mail

Media reports

Sky News archive

Northern Chronicle archive

The Shields Gazette archive

Daily Mail archive

ITV News

Evening Standard