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Last Updated: Monday, 5 September 2005, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Transsexual and family attacked
James Harries (photo courtesy Western Mail)
James Harries was on television as a ten-year-old antiques expert
A former child antiques expert who had gender realignment surgery to become a woman, was attacked in her home by a gang of youths, a court has heard.

Lauren Harries, from Rumney, rose to fame as 10-year-old antique expert James Harries, before she underwent a sex change operation in 2001.

A 17-year-old youth admitted head-butting Lauren's father when eight youths broke into the home in July, assaulting her and her family.

The teenager will be sentenced soon.

Cardiff Youth Court was told that the youth - who cannot be named for legal reasons - had been drinking when he and a jeering gang banged on the family's front door before carrying out an "absolutely hideous" attack.

They were shouting and swearing, the court heard and were heard to shout out the word "tranny" - a term of abuse associated with hate crime.

Lauren's 63-year-old father Mark Harries described the defendant as "like a violent bull" when he challenged him and the rest of the group.

Lauren Harries and her brother Adam (photo courtesy Western Mail)
Lauren Harries and her brother, Adam, were attacked at home

After head-butting Mr Harries, magistrates were told that the 17-year-old tried to kick him as he lay on the ground and then attacked his son, Adam Harries.

Lauren Harries was also beaten in the attack. None of the other attackers have been traced.

Leanne Jonathan, prosecuting, told the court how the Harries family had suffered for Lauren's "notoriety" after winning national fame in the 1980s and 1990s as the child antiques expert, James Harries.

Tagging order

She said: "The Harries family are well known in the area and indeed the country. Lauren has achieved a certain notoriety.

"She was born James Harries but she underwent gender realignment surgery and the family has received a good deal of nuisance in the area."

Stephen Jones, defending, said that his client did not know the family and had been drinking with friends when one of the group decided to bang on the family's front door.

He said: "There is no question that other people used the words, "tranny" but my client never used those words. It is a quantum leap to say this is a hate crime."

The youth pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mark Harris and actual bodily harm Adam Harries, and throwing a brick through the window of the family car.

Magistrate David Ford described the crime as "absolutely hideous" and adjourned the case for two weeks to consider whether to impose an order which would require the defendant to be tagged.


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