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Tuesday, September 1, 1998 Published at 06:44 GMT 07:44 UK


Transsexual man jailed in women's prison

McRae is regarded by jailers as a woman

A transsexual has made custodial history by becoming the first biological male to be jailed in a women's prison.

Lawyer Alexandra MacRae, 57, formerly a rugby prop forward called Stephen, was sentenced to 15 months at Dundee Sheriff Court for embezzlement.

She will serve her sentence at Craiginches Prison in Aberdeen, which is a men's prison with a small women's wing.

Former Scottish National Party candidate McRae had failed to repay £16,000 embezzled from a client two years ago, leaving Sheriff Brian Scoullar no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence.

Medical considerations

Mr Scoullar had already given McRae two years to raise the cash, because he believed she faced physical danger in prison.

She recently lost her job and was subsequently declared bankrupt, making it impossible for her to return the entire sum.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Prison Service said: "We had to base the decision strictly on our encounter with the person and also from medical considerations.

"We were quite happy to accept that she is a woman."

Craiginches was chosen in preference to Scotland's only all-female prison, Cornton Vale, because its small number of female prisoners - three - makes special cases easier to handle.

MacRae, who had sex change surgery in 1984, is the son of a Church of Scotland minister and was formerly married to a Ghanaian woman.

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