Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 6°C

Search

Ipswich: Building worker convicted of threatening behaviour towards transsexual

PUBLISHED: 10:11 02 July 2012 | UPDATED: 16:02 02 July 2012

Ipswich Magistrates' Court

Ipswich Magistrates' Court

Archant

A BUILDING worker has been convicted of threatening behaviour towards a transsexual in Suffolk’s first successful transphobic hate crime prosecution.

Today, Thomas Sawyer’s defiant victim Julia Ford told how the abuse she suffered from others as a result of police getting involved in the case drove her to the brink of despair.

Sawyer, of Wellington Street, Ipswich, pleaded guilty before the town’s magistrates to two charges of threatening behaviour towards Miss Ford. However, there was no suggestion Sawyer was involved in the other matters alleged by Miss Ford, who lived in the same block of flats.

The 54-year-old said people would shout abuse and physically block her, leaving her fearing for her safety.

As a result Miss Ford suffered drastic weight loss and police felt compelled to move her from her home.

She said: “I felt it was destroying my soul. I turned from the happy, bubbly person I was to this gibbering wreck when police came and rescued me from my flat.

“I was just completely drained and exhausted. I lost a stone in weight. I was sleeping with the light on. I barricaded my door at night. I felt I couldn’t get out.

“I was trapped.”

During Sawyer’s case, prosecutor Lucy Miller said Miss Ford was disturbed by noise from the flats above hers at around 4am on February 16. Around 9.20am she went into the hallway with a camera to record the noise as she was going to make a complaint to environmental health officers.

Miss Ford walked up the stairs and saw Sawyer apparently breaking wood with a hammer.

He became annoyed and started threatening her, calling her a ‘tranny’ and swearing.

Sawyer then shouted obscenities through her door.

The court heard that after being arrested he referred to Miss Ford as ‘it’ and a ‘faggot’.”

On February 24, at around 7.30pm, Miss Ford heard banging again, followed by loud footsteps and a hooting noise.

When she peered through the peephole she saw a dark figure telling her she was going to die and hurling more abuse. As a result Sawyer was arrested again.

John Hughes, mitigating, said Sawyer now realised he was in the wrong, but had originally become annoyed as he thought Miss Ford was filming him.

Magistrates ordered Sawyer to pay a total of £800 in fines and costs. He was also given a 12-month restraining order preventing him from contacting Miss Ford.

Police investigating reports a man was robbed in Clacton believe his attackers assaulted and stole cash from him in an alleyway.

Thousands of pounds of equipment was stolen from Haverhill Golf Club after thieves broke into the pro shop and then returned the following day.

New chalet sites are to be created in Felixstowe for the first time in more than a decade as part of proposals to give more people the “beach hut experience”.

Get your weekend plans sorted - here is what is happening near you on January 27 and 28.

Pancake Day is at an earlier date this year compared to last - find out when you need to stock up on milk, eggs and flour.

Officers investigating recent burglaries at business premises in Woodbridge have arrested a woman in connection with four of the incidents.

A suicidal Colchester man who was found in possession of a homemade explosive device and an air rifle has walked free from court after a judge decided not to send him straight to prison.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

London Boat Show 2018

cover

Click here to view
London Boat
Show supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24