‘Madness’: Trans woman guilty of two rapes as a man could be sent to female jail

Isla Bryson
Isla Bryson

A transgender rapist convicted of launching sex attacks on two vulnerable women is set to be sent to a female jail to await sentencing.

Isla Bryson, who was previously known as Adam Graham, was convicted on Tuesday of two counts of rape at the High Court in Glasgow, committed while still living as a man.

The jury had been told that Bryson’s “dead name” was Adam Graham and that while the 31-year-old claimed to have known they were trans at age four, they only transitioned after being accused of the second rape.

The Telegraph understands that despite the convictions, Bryson - who was remanded in custody - is set to be sent to HMP Cornton Vale, a women’s prison in Stirling.

Under Scottish Prison Service policy, individual risk assessments are carried out to decide where transgender inmates will be sent.

The move to house a male-bodied rapist in a female jail sparked an immediate backlash from women’s rights campaigners, who branded it “mad”.

The verdict was delivered just weeks after Holyrood passed legislation that would have made it significantly easier for Scots to change legal sex, only for it to be blocked by UK ministers - in part due to fears it would place women in danger.

During deliberations over the Bill, Members of the Scottish Parliament voted down amendments designed to stop male sex offenders, or those accused of sexual offences, legally becoming women.

Supporters of the legislation branded the attempts to add safeguards as transphobic “dog whistles”.

'How mad this has all become'

“The fact that sending a convicted rapist to a women’s jail would even be considered shows how mad this has all become,” said Susan Smith, a director with the For Women Scotland campaign group.

“Only last month, the Scottish Government refused to entertain the possibility of refusing to allow men accused of rape attempting to seek a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

“This case indicates that predatory and abusive men will stop at nothing to manipulate courts and torture victims. Had this man been able to acquire a GRC, there would have been greater protections around the identity of the accused.

“We can only be grateful that some politicians still value women's safety and dignity. But for [the UK Government veto], this situation could have been so much worse for the victims.”

Isla Bryson - Mike Gibbons/Spindrift Photo Agency
Isla Bryson - Mike Gibbons/Spindrift Photo Agency

Bryson carried out the rapes in 2016 and 2019. The jury rejected the defendant’s claims that it was they who were vulnerable and that they would “never hurt another human being”.

The rapist claimed to have known about their gender issues since the age of four. However, a court indictment in 2020 still referred to the defendant as Adam Graham, with the name change happening at a later date.

'I told him to stop and he did not'

Bryson had attacked the first victim at a flat in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, on Sept 16 2016, having met on the Badoo dating site. The woman recalled repeatedly stating "no" as a "muscular" attacker forced himself upon her.

The second woman was raped at a flat in Drumchapel, Glasgow, on June 27 2019. The victim recalled feeling "crushed" as the attacker she knew as Adam forced himself on her.

She stated: "I told him to stop and he did not. He kept going. That is when I closed my eyes and let him do what he wanted to do."

Claiming to be aware of gender issues as a young child, Bryson told the court: "I was always hanging about with the girls and always doing make-up."

Bryson claimed to have received hormone treatment. Asked about surgery, Bryson stated: "I obviously want all the surgery that the NHS can provide."

Russell Findlay, the Scottish Tory community safety spokesman, said: “This rapist decided that he was no longer a man only after appearing in court on a rape charge.

“We now have the utterly perverse situation where a Scottish court refers to someone who says he identifies as female using 'her penis' to rape two vulnerable women.”

Lord Scott, the judge, deferred sentencing but warned that Bryson - who arrived in court on Monday dressed in a bright pink coat and handbag - faces a lengthy prison sentence.

The judge deferred sentencing until Feb 28 in Stirling.

“You have been convicted of two extremely serious charges,” Lord Scott told Bryson. "Given what you have been convicted of, a significant custodial sentence is inevitable.”