Double rapist Isla Bryson enrolled at college while facing charges
A transgender woman convicted of raping two women while she was a man was enrolled on a college beauty course involving spray tan sessions while facing charges, it has emerged.
The Daily Record reported that Isla Bryson enrolled on a beauty therapy course at Ayrshire College’s Kilwinning campus in 2021, and former students claimed they often had to take their clothes off to act as models for demonstrations of spray-tanning and waxing.
Bryson was found guilty of raping two women, one in 2016 and one in 2019, when she was a man known as Adam Graham following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow on Tuesday.
The college said it had “no prior knowledge of this individual being charged with any offences”.
Former students are calling for answers from the college as to how Bryson was able to enrol on the course, despite awaiting a trial date for sex offences.
Rachel Ferguson, 21, told the Daily Record it made her feel “physically sick” that Bryson had been watching her with no clothes on.
“It really scares me to look back and realise she was watching me with no clothes on after being charged with this,” she said.
“It makes me feel physically sick and violated.
“We should have known about the charges. It’s not right that we didn’t.”
Bryson first appeared in court as Graham in 2019 and was later named in court papers the following year – around the time she decided to transition – as Isla Annie Bryson, formerly known as Adam Graham.
An Ayrshire College spokesman said: “We can confirm the individual was enrolled as a student at Ayrshire College for a three-month period in 2021 and is no longer a student with the college.
“Ayrshire College had no prior knowledge of this individual being charged with any offences.
“We will not be making any further comment on this matter.”
Meanwhile, the former governor of Cornton Vale, where Bryson was remanded following her conviction, said placing the rapist in a women’s prison was a “shambles”.
Rhona Hotchkiss told BBC Scotland: “I would have refused to have this person in Cornton Vale, I’m afraid. It just goes against all natural justice.
“I would have insisted there was no reason for this person to be assessed in Cornton Vale.
“It’s wrong to use segregation when it’s not strictly necessary and in my opinion that’s what has happened here.”
It is now understood that Bryson was transferred to HMP Edinburgh after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she would not serve her sentence at a women’s prison.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Bryson was taken to Cornton Vale women’s prison in Stirling after being convicted on Tuesday. The transfer to the male prison is expected to be completed on Thursday.
“It would not be appropriate for me, in respect of any prisoner, to give details of where they are being incarcerated.
“But given the understandable public and parliamentary concern in this case, I can confirm to Parliament that this prisoner will not be incarcerated at Cornton Vale women’s prison.
“I hope that provides assurance to the public.”
A Scottish Prison Service (SPS) spokesman said: “Decisions by the SPS as to the most appropriate location to accommodate transgender people are made on an individualised basis, informed by a multi-disciplinary assessment of both risk and need.
“Such decisions seek to protect both the wellbeing and rights of the individual as well as the welfare and rights of others around them, including staff, in order to achieve an outcome that balances risks and promotes the safety of all, and that is exactly what has happened in this case.”