A transgender sex offender was handed a suspended prison sentence after breaching an order banning them from using a false name to talk to women online.
Appearing at Northampton Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Thursday, March 28), Chloe Walker, 29, pleaded guilty to breaching a sexual harm prevention order made by a court three years ago.
Walker admitted using the name Jamie Thornton to speak to a victim on Facebook when prevented from doing so by the order.
The court heard how Walker, who appeared on the court list using the pronoun Mr, had a history of sex offending and had been in jail for the past 10 months.
Appearing via video link from HMP Peterborough, the court heard how Walker, as part of a previous sentence, had been ordered to register all pseudonyms used online with the police in advance of using them.
The defendant had failed to do so and had used the name Jamie Thornton to speak to a victim between May 3 and June 25 last year.
The court heard how Walker, of no fixed address, had previously been found guilty of sexual offences in the names of Brandon Walker and had also posed as Steven and James Walker online.
Walker was referred to as Mr Walker for the first half of yesterday’s hearing, until District Judge Tim Daber told prosecutor Stella Moses to refer to Walker using feminine pronouns.
Ms Moses told the court: “The defendant has gone on to the internet and used the name Jamie Thornton and contacted the victim who doesn’t know the witness.
“She believed she was speaking to Jamie Thornton. He’s befriended her in that name on Facebook.
“The defendant was visited by police on June 25 last year and admitted being in breach of the sexual harm prevention order when interviewed.
“The defendant is a registered sex offender and also a transgender female.
“When the breach was put to her on June 25 she said she remembered some of it.”
Walker admitted having three email accounts and had contacted the victim in the name of Jamie Thornton.
Ms Moses added that the defendant had told police “I don’t use Facebook.”
“The profile picture was put to her and she said ‘It looks like it.
“She then admitted using that profile in the name of Jamie Thornton.”
The court was told that Walker’s most recent conviction was in July 2018 when the defendant was given a 10-month prison sentence for breaching a sexual harm prevention order.
Mitigating for Walker, solicitor Waqar Ali said: “The defendant has made an early guilty plea at the first opportunity with partial admissions of guilt in interview.
“She’s unable to explain what was going through her mind at the time.
“She’s deeply entrenched in the use of cannabis, cocaine and other illegal substances.
“She’d been living a socially reclusive life with not many friends and social media was the only place she could find some company.”
The court was told that Walker, who suffers from mental health problems as a result of autism, had a support plan in place for their pending release from prison on April 3, when the sentence from the previous offences ends.
Work had been lined up in Wellingborough along with a place to live.
Sentencing Walker, Judge Daber said that a custodial sentence was appropriate given the previous history of offending.
He said: “You pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to breaching the order by using a name that was not registered in advance with the police.
“It deserves a period of imprisonment but I have to take into account what’s happened since the offence.
“A package of measures have been put in place in anticipation of your release.”
Walker, whose previous address was in Northampton, was given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, which means that any more offences will be punishable by an immediate return to prison.
Walker was also ordered to pay £115 costs and an £85 surcharge.