JUSTICE: Transgender rapist Isla Bryson jailed for eight years for rape of two women

High Court prosecutors said Bryson had “preyed” on vulnerable women

By Democrat reporter

A transgender rapist who raped two women while still a man has been jailed. Isla Bryson from West Dunbartonshire was sentenced to eight years in prison at the High Court in Edinburgh today [Tuesday,28 February] with a further three years on licence.

The court heard that Bryson attacked one victim in Clydebank in 2016 and one in Drumchapel, Glasgow, in 2019, and committed both of the offences while a man known as Adam Graham. The 31-year-old, from Clydebank, met both the victims online, with prosecutors saying Bryson had “preyed” on vulnerable women.

Isla Bryson, 31, formerly known as Adam Graham (Photo: PA)
Isla Bryson, 31, formerly known as Adam Graham 

The case sparked uproar after Bryson was initially housed in an all-female prison and was later moved to the male estate.

Scottish Justice Secretary Keith Brown ordered an urgent review of the case and the Scottish Prison Service took the decision to halt the movement of all transgender prisoners with a history of violence against women into the female estate.

Bryson first appeared in court as Adam Graham in 2019 and was later named in court papers the following year – around the time of the decision to transition – as Isla Annie Bryson.

Isla Bryson, formerly known as Adam Graham, has been jailed for raping two women while she was a man (Photo: PA)
Isla Bryson, formerly known as Adam Graham, has been jailed for raping two women while she was a man.

During the trial, the High Court in Glasgow heard that Bryson was going through the breakdown of a brief, unhappy marriage and went to stay with the first victim at her mother’s house in Clydebank in 2016.

Giving evidence on pre-recorded video, the victim, 30, said she was raped for half-an-hour. She said: “All I said was ‘no’ over and over and over again. At the time I was so scared. Sick to the stomach. I just didn’t know what was going on.”

The second victim, who gave evidence via live video-link, told the court that Bryson continued to have sex with her after she said stop. The court heard Bryson entered the victim with “her penis” and was told to stop because Bryson was “crushing” the victim.

The victim’s police statement said Bryson instead told her to “stay there” because “ he (Bryson) wasn’t finished”. The victim told the court: “I said to stop but he (Bryson) just kept on going, and that’s when I just closed my eyes and I am doing what he wanted to do.”

Giving evidence during the trial, Bryson claimed both women consented to having sex and spoke of identifying as transgender at the age of four, but did not make the decision to transition until age 29.

Double rapist Isla Bryson leaves Edinburgh High Court in a prison van (Photo: Katielee Arrowsmith SWNS)
Double rapist Isla Bryson leaves Edinburgh High Court in a prison van.

During sentencing on Tuesday, judge Lord Scott noted that Bryson continues to “vehemently deny” the offences, claiming the victims “colluded” to press charges.

The 31-year-old, who appeared in court wearing a blonde wig and dressed in black leggings and a fluorescent pink jacket, is still pursuing full gender reassignment and is currently on “the maximum recommended doses of hormone prescription” from the Sandyford clinic.

Defence advocate Edward Targowski KC said this, coupled with “troubled early years”, makes his client vulnerable. He told the court that Bryson’s move to transition following both rapes was not “an afterthought cynically designed to reduce the punishment”, contrary to what he described as “ill-informed and ill-judged comments” made outside of the court.

Lord Scott, pictured left, said the seriousness of the crimes “far outweigh” Bryson’s mitigatory circumstances, but acknowledged Bryson is considered “vulnerable in some ways” due to adverse childhood experiences. He said: “You see yourself as the victim in this situation. You are not.

“Your vulnerability is no excuse at all for what you did to these two women. You raped two women who can both be regarded as vulnerable.”

Lord Scott said Bryson was “preying on these two women because of their vulnerability and raped them in their own homes where they were entitled to feel safe”. Addressing Bryson, he added: “You are not at the stage of accepting what you did or acknowledging the serious harm you inflicted on two women.”

He said the rapist was “a high risk of re-offending”, adding: “There will need to be a high level of supervision.”

As well as the sentence, which was backdated to 24 January and extended supervision, Bryson has also been placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative shadow community safety minister Russell Findlay MSP, pictured right, said: “In reality, an eight-year prison sentence means this double rapist could be back on the streets in as little as four years, which will likely be of little comfort to victims.

“They’ve already suffered from the perverse decision to address this rapist as ‘she’ and by Nicola Sturgeon and her justice secretary refusing to say what everyone in Scotland can see with their own eyes — that Bryson is a man.

“Even following Nicola Sturgeon’s sudden resignation, the SNP government continues to attempt to dupe the public by saying this case has nothing to do with its gender self-ID bill.

“But if this SNP law is enacted, it will be wide open to exploitation by giving the legal right to sex offenders to declare they are female, no matter the risks to women and girls.

“Going forward, the prison service must publish its delayed new policy on transgender prisoners, allowing for full scrutiny, feedback and, if necessary, amendment.”

Isla Bryson: ‘I hope he rots in jail’, says  wife

Meanwhile, the estranged wife of double rapist Isla Bryson has said the focus should be on the victims.

Bryson, who changed gender while waiting to stand trial, has been jailed for eight years. Bryson attacked two women in Clydebank and Glasgow in 2016 and 2019 while known as Adam Graham.

Shonna Graham said: “The way I see it is he is a man, he done the crime as a man… he should do the time in a man’s jail.”

Ms Graham said she had met Adam Bryson in 2015 and they married the following year. The 31-year-old said there had never been any suggestion during their relationship that her husband wanted to become a woman.

She said she believed Bryson had hoped to serve the sentence in a woman’s jail and have an easier time – but that this had not worked.

“You can’t do a crime as a man then want to transition once you’ve been charged with it. That’s how you know it’s all a big joke to him.

“I hope he rots in jail. I hope the victims can put this evil person behind them.”

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