Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 5°C

min temp: 1°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Ipswich: Building worker convicted of threatening behaviour towards transsexual

10:11 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.

0 comments

The Red Lion Hotel, High Street, Colchester, Essex.

A well-known hotel in the heart of Colchester has joined a range of other outlets in the town to be given just one star for food hygiene.

A sunny day on the beach and promenade in Southwold - the town has been boosted by coastal communities status. 
Picture: James Bass

Two communities in Suffolk have been awarded special status as part of a national project to drive forward future economic growth and prosperity in coastal areas.

Colchester GV: High Street

Council tax in Colchester will go up by 2.8% this year – the first time it has increased in seven years.

The Brewery Tap in Cliff Lane, Ipswich

The Brewery Tap in Cliff Lane is the only food outlet in Ipswich to receive zero stars out of five following a visit by food hygiene inspectors.

Copdock interchange. Credit: Mike Page

A crash has partially blocked the Copdock interchange.

Chantry Academy has started a campaign called Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) where the whole school (including staff) drop what they are doing and pick up a book for 10 minutes to read. Pictured is Alisha Reid.

A new project which aims to highlight the importance of reading is proving a page turner in the latest chapter of one Ipswich school’s story, as youngsters and staff alike are encouraged to ‘drop everything and read’.

Morrisons Petrol Station at Sproughton, Ipswich

Motorists in Suffolk and Essex who use Morrisons petrol stations may find the pumps run dry next month if a dispute over a driver’s pay leads to industrial action.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24