Mum spared jail for calling trans woman ‘pig in a wig’ on Twitter
A mother-of-two who called a transgender woman a ‘Pig in a Wig’ in a series of offensive social media posts has been spared prison.
Three police officers arrived at Kate Scottow’s home and arrested her in front of her children after receiving complaints from Stephanie Hayden.
After a two day trial she was today found guilty of persistently making use of a public communications network to cause annoyance, inconvenience and anxiety to her target.
Scottow, 39, from Pirton, near Hitchin, Hertfordshire, was not at St Albans Magistrates’ Court to hear the verdict, but some of her supporters stood outside.
After the hearing they shouted: ‘Pig in a wig’ and ‘He is a man – go on prosecute me.’
They tired scarves in the purple, green and white colours of the Suffragettes to lampposts outside the building and held up banners reading: ‘We love free speech.’
Giving evidence, Ms Hayden, 48, called Scottow a Twitter troll who had referred to her as ‘he’ or ‘him’.
She added: ‘This is the problem with these people. It’s just done to annoy people like me.
‘It’s calculated to violate my dignity as a woman. It’s just harassment.’
She found out that Scottow was behind a Twitter account called ‘Busted Wench’ which she claimed described her as racist.
Ms Hayden initially started civil proceedings against the defendant but eventually a ‘compromise agreement’ was reached where she would no longer refer to her on social media or call her a racist.
But she told the court how in October 2018 she became aware of a second Twitter account created by the defendant.
Ms Hayden began to think the agreement they made was never going to be kept to.
The court heard how the abusive tweets began to escalate again and the victim was again called a racist and ‘misgendered’ in a number of posts referring to her as ‘he’ or ‘him’.
On the first day of the trial she said: ‘There were a number of tweets which were not only targeting me, they were targeting other people who were either transgender or who were perceived to be supportive of transgender people.’
Scottow’s barrister Diana Wilson described Ms Hayden as a ‘serial complainant’ and said her client could not expect a fair trial because police had not investigated the matter properly.
She told District Judge Margaret Dodd that officers had launched a one-sided probe relying on what Ms Hayden had told them.
The court heard how police had not verified her claims by examining devices.
After the verdict Ms Wilson said: ‘She has ongoing anxiety. This lady is profoundly affected.
‘She did not believe she was committing an offence. She has come off Twitter and is not engaging in these matter.’
Finding her guilty, judge Dodd said: ‘You felt able to make personal and offensive comments about her.
‘It was abuse for the sake of it. Your comments contributed nothing to a debate.
‘We teach children to be kind to each other and not to call each other names in the playground.’
The judge said she knew what she was doing by persistently using male pronouns, causing her target ‘needless anxiety’.
Scottow was made the subject of a two year conditional discharge and must pay £1,000 costs within six months.
It is understood she is considering an appeal.
In a statement after the verdict, Ms Hayden said: ‘Today there are no winners. While I am satisfied with the outcome of the criminal prosecution, the fact remains that it should not have been necessary to ever complain to the police in the first place.
‘Abusing and smearing transgender people online must stop. The media-led obsession and campaign of hate is encouraging people like Katherine Scottow to think they can target transgender people online with impunity.
‘Today’s verdict demonstrates that such conduct has consequences that are potentially life-changing.
‘I now wish to move on. With this in mind I wish Mrs Scottow all the best for the future and hope that she will learn from this experience.’