Rapist ‘moved to women-only prison after gender reassignment surgery’

Ross McGuinness

A convicted rapist has been moved to a women-only prison after she had gender reassignment surgery, it has been reported.

Jessica Winfield, formerly known as Martin Ponting, was moved to women’s prison HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey, according to The Sun.

She had previously been serving a sentence at men’s prison Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire.

Winfield made a complaint ten years ago about being victimised by prison staff and inmates because of her sexuality.

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She wrote to prisoners’ newspaper Inside Time to say she was given a ‘hard time because of my sexuality, possibly through lack of understanding and empathy’.

Winfield, 50, was jailed for life in 1995 for raping two women. The Sun reported that she had surgery costing £10,000 on the NHS in prison, and could be released later this year.

One of Winfield’s victims said it was ‘diabolical’ she had been allowed gender reassignment surgery.

She told the newspaper: ‘There are not enough words to describe him and the evil he has done.

‘It is diabolical they have allowed him to have a sex change and diabolical that he could be freed this year.

‘He may have changed physically but his brain is still the same.’

The Prison Service said it did not comment on individual cases.

HMP Bronzefield in Surrey (Picture: Rex)

Claire Waxman, from campaign group Voice4Victims, said: ‘This highlights the great imbalance of equality within our justice system.

‘A victim of crime doesn’t choose the path of a victim and yet they are forced into a process geared more towards the offenders’ rights.

‘If there are funds for rapists’ sex changes then the government has to find equal funds to help victims.’

Dr Jane Hamlin, president of transgender charity the Beaumont Society, said: ‘Transgender people are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect in all aspects of their lives by family, friends and the wider non-transgender community.

‘If transgender people break the law they should be treated in the same way that anyone else would be.

‘I do sometimes receive letters from transwomen who are in male prisons. They report that they are frequently victims of abuse and violence from other inmates.

‘I firmly believe that anyone convicted of breaking the law should be subject to the appropriate punishment, but no one should be punished for being transgender.’

John Pilley, also known as Jane Anne, made legal history in 1999 when he became the first inmate in England and Wales to be granted permission for a sex change operation.

Pilley was serving life for attempted murder and kidnapping a woman taxi driver.

It was later reported he decided to become a man again and was waiting to have his second operation on the NHS.

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