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Isla Bryson: Jailed Scottish transgender rapist 'at high risk of reoffending'

Bryson, from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, committed the crimes before she self-identified as female and was known at the time as Adam Graham.

Isla Bryson, 31, formerly known as Adam Graham, from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, arrives at the High Court in Glasgow. Following a six-day trial at the High Court a jury has found the transgender woman guilty of raping two women when she was a man: one in Clydebank in 2016 and one in Drumchapel, Glasgow, in 2019. Picture date: Monday January 23, 2023. See PA story COURTS Bryson. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
Trans woman Isla Bryson has been jailed for eight years for raping two women before she transitioned. (PA)

Scottish transgender rapist Isla Bryson has been jailed for eight years for attacking two women, as a judge warned she was “a high risk of reoffending”.

Isla Bryson, 31, was told by judge Lord Scott: "You are not at the stage of accepting what you did or acknowledging the serious harm you inflicted on two women"

Bryson was convicted last month of raping two women – one in Clydebank in 2016 and one in Drumchapel, Glasgow, in 2019 – and committed the offences while a man known as Adam Graham.

Bryson met both the victims online, with prosecutors saying the 31-year-old “preyed” on vulnerable women.

Bryson was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on Tuesday to eight years in prison, with a further three years on licence in which she will be supervised after her release.

Bryson has also been placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

Following her conviction, Bryson was moved from a female to a male prison after a public outcry.

Isla Bryson sits in the back of a prison van leaving Edinburgh High Court after she was jailed for eight years on Tuesday. (PA)
Isla Bryson sits in the back of a prison van leaving Edinburgh High Court after she was jailed for eight years on Tuesday. (PA)

Bryson, from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, committed the crimes before she self-identified as female and was known at the time as Adam Graham.

During sentencing, judge Lord Scott said Bryson continues to “vehemently deny” the offences.

The court heard Bryson is still pursuing full gender reassignment and is currently on “the maximum recommended doses of hormone prescription” from the Sandyford clinic in Glasgow.

Lord Scott told Bryson: “You see yourself as the victim in this situation. You are not.

“Your vulnerability is no excuse at all for what you did to these two women. You raped two women who can both be regarded as vulnerable.”

Lord Scott said Bryson was “preying on these two women because of their vulnerability and raped them in their own homes where they were entitled to feel safe”.

He said the rapist has “a high risk of reoffending”, adding: “There will need to be a high level of supervision.”

What was Isla Bryson convicted of?

She raped one woman in Clydebank in 2016 and another in Drumchapel, Glasgow, in 2019.

During the trial, the High Court in Glasgow heard Bryson was going through the breakdown of a brief, unhappy marriage and went to stay with the first victim at her mother’s house in Clydebank in 2016.

Giving evidence on pre-recorded video, the victim, 30, said she was raped for half an hour.

“All I said was ‘no’ over and over and over again,” she said.

“At the time I was so scared. Sick to the stomach. I just didn’t know what was going on.”

The second victim, who gave evidence via live video-link, told the court Bryson continued to have sex with her after she said stop.

The victim told the court: “I said to stop but he (Bryson) just kept on going, and that’s when I just closed my eyes and I am doing what he wanted to do.”

Giving evidence during the trial, Bryson claimed both women consented to having sex.

File photo dated 26/01/15 of signage outside the entrance to Cornton Vale prison in Stirling. Transgender woman Isla Bryson, who has been convicted of rape, will not be imprisoned in the all female Cornton Vale prison in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said. Issue date: Thursday January 26, 2023.
Isla Bryson was moved from Cornton Vale women's prison in Stirling, Scotland, following a public outcry. (Alamy)

Bryson was convicted in late January and was taken to Cornton Vale – Scotland’s only all-female prison facility – to be held in segregation to await sentencing.

But following anger from the public and politicians, Bryson was moved to the male estate within days and an urgent review was commissioned by Scottish justice secretary Keith Brown.

Why is the Isla Bryson case so controversial?

Last week, the head of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said she is “not at liberty to say” who made the decision to send Bryson to a women’s prison.

The decision was taken by the SPS to take Bryson to Cornton Vale instead of HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow – as was ordered by the judge in the case – while the offender was in transit.

Trans woman Isla Bryson, who has been convicted of raping two women, pictured when she still identified as a man, called Adam Graham. (Reuters)
Trans woman Isla Bryson, who has been convicted of raping two women, pictured when she still identified as a man, called Adam Graham. (Reuters)

SPS chief executive Teresa Medhurst said she would not discuss who made the final decision.

“That decision, as I said earlier, was taken by headquarters,” she said.

When pressed further on who made the decision, she added: “I’m not at liberty to say."

Earlier this month, Bryson's mother said the 31-year-old rapist had never mentioned wanting to be a girl as a child.

File photo dated 06/02/23 of First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon answers questions on Scottish Government issues, during a press conference at St Andrews House, Edinburgh. More than four in 10 voters in Scotland think First Minister Nicola Sturgeon should resign immediately, according to a new poll carried out amid controversy over gender recognition reforms. The Panelbase survey for the Sunday Times found that 42% of respondents thought she should stand down now, while 45% said she should remain as First Minister at until at least the next Holyrood election, and 13% didn't know. Issue
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said she believed Isla Bryson was 'almost certainly' faking being trans. (Alamy)

Janet Bryson told the Sunday Mail she was “disgusted and heartbroken” that her daughter had turned out to be a rapist.

Giving evidence during her trial, Bryson spoke of identifying as transgender at the age of four but not making the decision to transition until the age of 29.

The 31-year-old’s mother said her child gave no indication of being transgender while growing up.

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who announced earlier this month that she will stand down once her successor is chosen, said Bryson is "almost certainly" faking being trans.

It emerged that Bryson was enrolled at a college beauty course involving spray tan sessions while facing the rape charges.

Watch: 'Heightened public concern' let to pause in trans prison transfers, says Sturgeon