A transsexual who downloaded child pornography walked free from court because a judge said she would not be safe in prison, it was reported today.
Laura Voyce, 20, who used to be called Luke, was convicted of 14 counts of downloading indecent images of children.
Some of the images on her laptop were graded at the second most sickening level of abuse.
Voyce, who is biologically still a man but legally a woman, was sentenced to a nine-month jail term suspended for 12 months.
She was ordered to perform 100 hours of unpaid work and to sign the sex offenders register for five years, a spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed.
Voyce, of Gaywood Green, Kirkby, Liverpool, was convicted by a jury at Manchester Crown Court but still maintains her innocence.
She was arrested by Greater Manchester Police in 2008 when she lived in Withington on suspicion of another offence.
A CPS spokesman said in interview with detectives, Voyce claimed to have been looking at online music files when she downloaded the images.
The defendant added that she looked at the images to help resolve problems she had in her own childhood.
"She said she wasn't brought up as a proper girl but as a boy," the CPS said.
"And that is why she initially viewed things like girls modelling clothes and that progressed to indecent images we say."
Voyce, who is engaged to be married, would have had to serve time in a man's prison.
Judge Lesley Newton was quoted in the Manchester Evening News as saying: "Frankly, you deserve to go to prison, but I can't bring myself to send you to prison, entirely because I think prison would be an appalling experience for you.
"I do not see how you could be kept safe in a prison environment with the best will in the world on the part of those who run such establishments."
The judge said she was satisfied Voyce downloaded the sick images for her "perverted sexual gratification".