A transgender woman has been found guilty of raping two women when she was a man.
Isla Bryson, from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, committed the crimes before she transitioned to female.
A six-day trial at the high court in Glasgow heard Bryson raped two women – one in Clydebank in 2016 and one in Drumchapel, Glasgow, in 2019. She met her victims online, with prosecutors saying she “preyed” on vulnerable women.
Bryson denied the charges, telling the court she “would never hurt another human being”.
After less than a day of deliberation, a jury found her guilty of both rape charges.
Addressing Bryson in the dock on Tuesday, the judge, Mr Justice Scott, said: “You have been convicted by the jury of two extremely serious charges; those being charges of rape.” He told her the crimes were “considerable” and that “a significant sentence is inevitable”.
Bryson’s bail was revoked and she has been remanded in custody until 28 February to allow the judge to gather “as much information as possible” on her before deciding her sentence.
The court heard Bryson was going through the breakdown of an unhappy, brief marriage when she went to stay with her first victim at the victim’s mother’s house in Clydebank in 2016.
Evidence was given that, on the night of the rape, Bryson locked the victim’s bedroom door, which was “unusual.”
Giving evidence on pre-recorded video, the victim, 30, said she was raped for half an hour. “All I said was ‘no’ over and over and over again,” she said. “At the time I was so scared. Sick to the stomach. I just didn’t know what was going on.” She said Bryson later threatened her family with harm if she told anyone.
The second victim told the court Bryson continued to have sex with her after she said stop. Giving evidence over live video link, the 34-year-old said they had met on the social media app Bigo, where Bryson was named DJ Blade.
She said they met in person after chatting. The day after first meeting, in June 2019, they were at her home in Drumchapel watching soaps. The victim said her pyjama bottoms were removed by Bryson, who performed a sex act, which she consented to, but then she asked Bryson to stop.
The victim told the court: “I said to stop but he [Bryson] just kept on going, and that’s when I just closed my eyes and I am doing what he wanted to do.”
In her own evidence, Bryson claimed they both consented to having sex.
Bryson said she knew she was transgender at the age of four but did not make the decision to transition until she was 29. She is currently taking hormones and seeking surgery to complete gender reassignment. She said in 2016 she was “struggling with my sexuality and having issues emotionally”.
The jury unanimously found Bryson guilty of raping the second victim, with a majority agreeing she raped the first woman.
The court heard Bryson has three minor convictions on her record, but none of these required a prison sentence.