Trans rapist Isla Bryson ‘tried to join self-defence class for female sexual assault victims’

Bryson - Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Bryson - Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Transgender predator Isla Bryson tried to join a self-defence programme for female victims of sexual assault while awaiting trial for rape, it has emerged.

The 31-year-old approached the Scottish Centre for Personal Safety just weeks after the rapist’s identity was changed on court documents from Adam Graham to Annie Bryson.

Bryson was convicted last week of raping two women with “her penis” before deciding to transition.

The Scottish Sun reported that Bryson, who later started using the Christian name Isla, contacted the centre in Ardrossan, Ayrshire, in September 2021.

But staff refused to register Bryson, who did not mention the High Court charges, following safeguarding checks. Responding to the story on Twitter, the centre said: “We’re glad our screening process works - especially on this occasion.”

The charity provides training and support to vulnerable groups, including domestic and sexual assault survivors and LGBT groups to fight off attackers.

A source told the Scottish Sun that Bryson claimed to have been attacked in nearby Saltcoats by several males and alleged bullying and harassment for being trans while an Ayrshire College student.

The rapist also claimed to have been made homeless after being thrown out of a bedsit in nearby Stevenston over unpaid rent.

The source said Bryson was living in temporary accommodation next to the centre and claimed to want to take the course over concerns “about their safety”.

Bryson was said to have arranged a meeting with the centre director to ask about the self-defence course available for LGBT applicants.

Alan Bell, 56, founder of the award-winning charity, told the newspaper Bryson visited but failed its safeguarding process as the centre’s “robust screening” ensures applicants have a genuine motive for joining.

In a statement, he said: “Our charity is a great advocate of diversity and inclusion. This person visited us claiming that, because she was a trans woman, she was bullied and harassed at college and physically attacked.

“This individual failed our screening process and our services were not offered.”

Russell Findlay, the Scottish Tories’ Shadow Community Safety Minister, said: “It tells you everything that a local gym owner had more robust screening and common sense than the SNP’s gender self-ID prison policy.

“This diligent individual immediately saw right through Adam Graham and his sinister attempt to join a self-defence course for female victims of sexual assault.

“Yet prison bosses, in thrall to Nicola Sturgeon’s self-ID obsession, accepted this double rapist’s claims at face value. Had it not been for SNP politicians’ fear of the public backlash, this predator would almost certainly still be in a women’s prison.”

Last week, Bryson was sent to Cornton Vale women’s prison, in line with Scottish Prison Service (SPS) guidance stating that trans criminals should be sent to a jail that matches their self-identified gender.

Bryson was named Adam Graham when committing the rapes and has not legally changed gender. Following a huge public outcry, the rapist was moved to a men’s cell in Edinburgh’s Saughton jail.

It also emerged that Bryson signed up for a beauty skills course at Ayrshire College while awaiting trial and young female students stripped off in front of the rapist for spray tan sessions.

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted “trans women are women” despite banning the rapist from female prison. However, her government has refused to review its controversial plans to allow Scots to self-identify their legal gender.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We welcome the protections this self-defence programme had in place to ensure the safety of those attending.

“As the Cabinet Secretary for Justice explained in Parliament earlier this week, at the time that the two cases reported in the media last week were brought to public attention, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) had not taken a decision about the future placement of the individuals concerned.  The process of considering these cases was still under way.

“The management and accommodation of prisoners within the prison estate has been and will continue to be an operational matter for SPS, who have rigorous and robust risk assessments in place that prioritise prisoner and staff safety,” the spokesperson said.