Police and courts have been accused of pandering to a transgender paedophile by treating him as a woman for crimes he committed when a man.
Gary Cooper was already serving a lengthy sentence in a male prison for sexual crimes including rape when new charges of historical sex abuse against a young girl were brought against him.
But the 53-year-old, who now goes by the name Carrie Cooper, was treated as a woman at his latest trial.
In court documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday, the paedophile is accused of using ‘her’ finger to carry out the assaults – even though Cooper was a man at the time of the offences, which took place between 2007 and 2012.
Gary Cooper (mugshot, above) was already serving a lengthy sentence in a male prison for sexual crimes including rape when new charges of historical sex abuse against a young girl were brought against him. But the 53-year-old, who now goes by the name Carrie Cooper, was treated as a woman at his latest trial
Cooper was addressed as Carrie in the indictment and in St Albans Crown Court. Last week Hertfordshire Police announced ‘a woman has been sentenced’ in the case.
If Cooper obtains an official certificate making him legally female, his crimes will even be recorded as having been committed by a woman in official statistics.
There is growing public concern over transgender prisoners, particularly after the case of Karen White, who sexually assaulted two inmates in New Hall women’s prison while on remand for a knife attack.
Prosecutors said White, who was formerly known as David Thompson, used the gender transitioning process as way to get access to vulnerable victims.
Cooper, a delivery driver from Hertford, was first brought to justice in 2011 after he posed as a 15-year-old called Chantelle to befriend a 12-year-old girl online. Two days later he picked her up from her home in Basingstoke, Hampshire, took her to his house and raped her twice.
Cooper pleaded guilty at Winchester Crown Court in September 2011 to rape and abduction.
How Hertfordshire Police reported the sentencing online. If Cooper obtains an official certificate making him legally female, his crimes will even be recorded as having been committed by a woman in official statistics
Police then discovered he had also had sex with a vulnerable 15-year-old girl, and charged him with grooming offences, making indecent photographs and sexual activity with a minor, to which he pleaded guilty at St Albans Crown Court in October 2012.
But between the trial and sentencing the following month – when he was jailed for 14 years and four months – Cooper had changed his identity to woman and he was referred to as both Gary and Carrie in court records.
Cooper was first sent to HMP Parkhurst, a male prison on the Isle of Wight, but has since been moved to HMP Littlehey, a jail for male sex offenders in Cambridgeshire.
Then another girl revealed that Cooper had subjected her to years of sexual abuse, starting in 2007 when she was just seven. He had crept into her bedroom and molested her, saying it was ‘their secret’.
In this case, Cooper was found guilty of nine counts sexual assault of a child under 13 and last week St Albans Crown Court sentenced him to seven-and- a-half years in addition to his existing term.
Cooper was first sent to HMP Parkhurst, a male prison on the Isle of Wight, but has since been moved to HMP Littlehey (pictured), a jail for male sex offenders in Cambridgeshire
Yet although the offences were committed when Cooper was a man, the indictment, produced by the Crown Prosecution Service and read out in court, referred to ‘Carrie Cooper’ and details of the offences included using ‘a part of her body, namely her finger’ to abuse the victim.
After the sentencing Hertfordshire Constabulary announced on the news on their website under the headline: ‘Woman sentenced for historic sexual offences against a child.’
One outraged Twitter user, Lily Maynard, asked: ‘When men’s crimes are recorded as those of women, what will happen to the records that measure male violence against females?’
Kirsten Sjovoll, a barrister a Matrix Chambers, said: ‘Respecting trans rights does not mean misgendering gendered violence.’
Last night, Hertfordshire Police said: ‘As per national guidelines, a trans person’s Police National Computer file will have them recorded as the gender they were at birth unless they are in possession of a gender reassignment certificate. These guidelines would also be followed when recording crime.’
The Crown Prosecution Service said: ‘In court a person is addressed according to their chosen identity at the time of the prosecution. However, this does not affect any charges, which are determined by the person’s identity when the offence was committed.’