A building worker in Ipswich has been convicted of what is believed to be the first offence officially aggravated by transphobia in Suffolk.

Thomas Sawyer, of Ipswich, admitted shouting abuse at his transgender neighbour and displaying threatening behaviour towards her, EADT reports.

Magistrates were told Miss Ford had been disturbed by noises from an upstairs flat in the early hours of one morning in February.

She said she went out into the hallway of the block with a camera to record the noise levels later that morning when she came across Sawyer breaking up pieces of wood.

He called Miss Ford a “tranny” and swore at her. The court was told Sawyer had reacted angrily because he thought he was being filmed.

He later referred to Miss Ford as “it” and as a “faggot” while in police custody.

Sawyer was arrested again five days later after Miss Ford was similarly disturbed by a loud banging and saw a figure through her peephole telling her she was going to die.

Miss Ford, 54, told the court she had suffered abuse from other neighbours in addition to Sawyer’s threatening behaviour.

She said: “I felt it was destroying my soul. I turned from the happy, bubbly person I was to this gibbering wreck when police came and rescued me from my flat.

“I was just completely drained and exhausted. I lost a stone in weight. I was sleeping with the light on. I barricaded my door at night. I felt I couldn’t get out.

“I was trapped.”

Sawyer must now pay £800 in fines and costs and was given a 12-month restraining order.