By Jonathon Van Maren
Some of you may remember a story from 2018, when a man named Stephen Wood identifying as female “Karen White” managed to get himself sent to a women’s prison in the United Kingdom. Upon his arrival there, he promptly began a spree of sexual assaults, the first of which he perpetrated within days. He sexually assaulted four female inmates before prison officials decided it was time to transfer him, after which he began begging friends to help him fund a sex change for 25,000 pounds so he could get transferred back. He wrote that he wanted to “force” the system to send him to a female prison.
White, it must be noted, was sent to jail for attacking a 66-year-old neighbor with a steak knife, raping several women, and sexual offenses involving children. None of that was enough to keep him from getting locked up with women who had no choice but to spend time behind bars with him. Their only reprieve was the fact that he was put in a private cell and made to shower separately. For three months, White essentially had free reign to perpetrate new crimes.
Now, a female prisoner has finally come forward to describe what it was like for women to be locked up with White in an interview with The Mail on Sunday. Forty-five-year-old Cheryle, one of the 360 inmates of HMP New Hall, was one of White’s four victims, and she says that White simply pretended to identify as female in order to take advantage of new pro-transgender laws that allowed violent male criminals to get sent to women’s jails merely on their say-so. Under these laws, White’s original name could not be revealed, and his violent crimes were not considered.
“This must never be allowed to happen again,” Cheryle told the Mail, who said she was speaking out in hopes that other women would not suffer what she endured. “Whatever people have done, prison should be a safe space.”