A transgender woman who has been convicted of rape will likely be detained a men’s prison, a judge has said.

Davina Ayrton has been jailed for the rape of a 15 year old girl in a garage in Portsmouth in 2004, nearly a decade before Ayrton began transitioning and changing her name.

The 34-year-old denied the assault – but in January, she was found guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court and remanded in custody.

At a sentencing hearing this week, Ayrton was sentenced to eight years behind bars – with Judge Ian Pearson adding that she will likely be held in a male facility for the duration.

The judge said: “I accept you have significant mental health issues and you are agonising over your gender issues and wish to live as a woman albeit no operation has been carried out yet.”

Judge Pearson previously said Ayrton will be held in the men’s prison “for her own safety”, and a court officer confirmed protocols had been put in place for Ayrton’s safety and the safety of other inmates.

The Portsmouth court heard that the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had ran away from home on the night of the attack, meeting Ayrton with two friends whilst drinking alcohol at the garage in Portsmouth.

The court then heard that Ayrton attacked the victim while the two friends were sleeping.

In a statement, the victim said: “As the years have passed, I have never forgotten the incident, how [Ayrton] forced himself on me, I was hysterical and I lived in fear all the time.

“I thought I was a real tough cookie but clearly I wasn’t.”

Ayrton had previously been convicted of possessing over 4000 indecent images of children back in 2014, and had subsequently attempted suicide last year.

The treatment of transgender prisoners has been a subject that has attracted nationwide attention in the last few months.

In October a petition with 150,000 signatures was delivered to the Ministry of Justice in London after it emerged that transgender prisoner Tara Hudson was serving a 12 week sentence for assault in a men’s prison.

At least two transgender prisoners have died in custody since Hudson’s case, leading MPs to raise questions about the safety of the prison system for trans people.

Hudson’s family have called for specialist units for transgender people in prisons, to keep them away from the mainstream prison population.

However, campaigners warn this could lead to the practice of trans people being effectively put in solitary confinement.

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