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Transgender woman Vicky Thompson found dead in Leeds men's prison

2015-11-20
A transgender woman sent to serve a custodial sentence at Leeds men's prison has been found dead in jail. Vicky Thompson, 21, was pronounced dead at Armley jail last Friday (November 13), the BBC reports. vicky

Vicky Thompson (r) with her boyfriend Robert Steele

Friends of Thompson, who had identified as female since her mid-teens but hadn't undergone gender reassignment surgery, said she had asked to be sent to a female prison, and that she would kill herself if she was forced to serve time in a men's unit. An investigation into her death has been launched, the Prison Service said. The news comes less than a month after a successful campaign calling for the transfer of another trans woman, Tara Hudson, from a Bristol men's prison to a women's unit, and growing calls for a review into the treatment of trans prisoners by HM Prison Service. Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning (November 20), Tara's mother, Jackie Brooklyn, described Thompson's death as "absolutely disgusting". "She should have been put in a ladies' jail, possibly under segregation like my daughter is, for her welfare. I think that should have come first; her welfare." Thompson, of Keighley, West Yorkshire, was reportedly jailed after breaching the terms of a 12 month suspended sentence that had been handed down in August. Her solicitor, Mohammed Hussain, said he had advised the judge to sent her to a women's prison near Wakefield, describing her a vulnerable transgender prisoner and "essentially a woman". 3478455334

HM Prison Leeds

Thompson's boyfriend, Robert Steele, said he spoke to her the day before her death and had been due to visit her at the prison, which was awarded with the National Centre for Diversity’s Leaders in Diversity Award in 2013. "She didn't like it in there because people were saying things to her because she was dressing as a female," he said. A Prison Service spokesperson said: "HMP Leeds prisoner Vicky Thompson was found unresponsive on the evening of Friday, 13 November. "Staff and paramedics attempted resuscitation but she was pronounced dead at 20:48 GMT. "As with all deaths in custody there will be an investigation by the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman." West Yorkshire Police added that Thompson's death was not being treated as suspicious. For advice and support you can call Samaritans on 116 123. More stories: You won’t believe what X Factor’s Ray Quinn looks like now Debra Messing shames creep by sharing his d*ck pic with the world