Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Living in Fear - and Spared Jail; TRANSGENDER WOMAN CARRIED STUN GUN AFTER BEING ABUSED AND THREATENED

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Living in Fear - and Spared Jail; TRANSGENDER WOMAN CARRIED STUN GUN AFTER BEING ABUSED AND THREATENED

Article excerpt

Byline: ROB KENNEDY and SOPHIE DOUGHTY Court Reporter rob.kennedy@ncjmedia.co.uk @ChronicleCourt

A TRANSGENDER woman living in fear has been spared prison after arming herself with a firearm for protection.

Katrina Harte, who had gender reassignment six years ago, bought a stun gun disguised as a torch after being abused.

She told police she had been assaulted previously and said she would have used the weapon "if she needed to".

The 53-year-old, who also had CS gas, was facing a mandatory five-year prison sentence for possessing the disguised firearm but a judge allowed her to keep her freedom after hearing about her troubled background.

Harte, who appeared upset during the hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, was given a suspended prison sentence.

Recorder Mark McKone told her: "Your overall personal circumstances are truly exceptional, both in the literal sense and sufficient to avoid me imposing the minimum five-year sentence.

"It would be unjust to impose five years imprisonment in your case. It would be unjust for you to serve a sentence at this stage.

"There is no evidence you took it out of the house or used it.

"On your own confession to the probation service, you suggest you had it in case you needed it for your own protection."

The matter came to light after Harte confessed to a support worker that she had the stun gun and some CS gas.

Police were informed and they found the weapons, which were in full working order, at her home in North Shields.

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. …

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