A TRANSGENDER inmate who has disputed being detained in a male jail has received a suspended sentence for offences including threats to prison staff.

Marcia Walker, formerly Mark Walker, who is now legally recognised as female, claimed to have Covid-19 and threatened to cough on an officer in a note shoved under the door of her cell at Frankland Prison, Durham, in April, last year.

Durham Crown Court was told she also threatened to kill a custody manager.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said an officer responding to Walker’s cell bell found her with a noose tied round her neck and, on trying to remove it, was spat upon.

When efforts were then made to restrain her, Walker shouted “rape”.

She was told she risked a downgrade in status and went on to damage her cell, so she was placed in handcuffs.

Earlier last year, in a cell search, the convicted sex offender was found to have a copy of the National Geographic magazine containing naked pictures of children.

Mr Sabiston said while in the health care area of the prison Walker also threatened to kill another inmate, a wheelchair user who is paralysed from the waist down.

Following her transfer to Durham Prison on remand for those offences, further pictures of naked children were found in a book in her possession, on March 24.

Walker, 47, from Kent, admitted two charges of making a threat to kill and one of assaulting an emergency worker, plus two counts of breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, over possession of the photographs.

Fiona Lamb, in mitigation, told a previous hearing the defendant does not want to be in a male prison and was eager to learn her fate.

Miss Lamb told the sentencing hearing: “She tells me she has not been able to go to any courses as a female in a male prison, but, if she was sentenced in the community there are a number of courses she could attend.”

Miss Lamb added that suitable approved accommodation is available in a community facility, in Guildford, Surrey.

Judge Ray Singh said there are concerns over both the defendant being detained in prison as well as in the community, but he was, “prepared to take a chance”, and imposed a 15-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, during which Walker must complete 30 rehabilitation activity days with the Probation Service.

The judge added that any breaches would result in the full sentence being imposed.