Mother-of-two ‘called a transgender woman a man and a racist in a series of offensive tweets’


A mother-of-two who allegedly called a transgender woman a man and a ‘racist’ today said her accuser ‘plays the victim card’ to stop people disagreeing with her.

Kate Scottow, 39, is on trial at St Albans Magistrates’ Court for allegedly posting offensive tweets against Stephanie Hayden, who is transgender.

Scottow was arrested at her home in Hitchin, Herfordshire, on December 1, 2018 in front of her then ten-year-old daughter and 20-month-old son.

Today, defence lawyer Diana Wilson asked her client: ‘You believe that she [Ms Hayden] plays the victim card to stop people disagreeing with her.’

Scottow replied: ‘I believe that she does that regularly and I feel it is unjust.’

Also today, Ms Hayden said she has been involved ‘in a fair few’ legal cases while being cross-examined by Ms Wilson.

The defence lawyer said Ms Hayden had been involved in three legal battles in a week.

Ms Hayden had complained Scottow referred to her as ‘he’ or ‘him’ during a period of ‘significant online abuse’.

The defendant is currently on trial for allegedly using a public communications network to cause annoyance, inconvenience and anxiety to Ms Hayden between September 2018 and May 2019.

During cross-examination of Ms Hayden today, defence lawyer Diana Wilson said Ms Hayden had been involved in three legal cases in a week.

When asked how many she was involved in, Ms Hayden said: ‘I am litigious, I put my hands up. I use the law if I feel I have to use the law.

‘That is a right I have got as a citizen of this country. I cannot tell you how many because, quite frankly, there have been a fair few.’

Ms Wilson told the court the claimant had a previous conviction relating to an affray with a golf club in 1999.

She said Ms Hayden had been before criminal courts on 11 occasions for 21 offences and had spent six months in prison for obtaining property deception.

But Ms Hayden noted all her convictions were spent and her last court appearance was 10 years ago.

She said she had been convicted of petty crimes like handing in a bad cheque at a petrol station and railway fraud.

Addressing the golf club affray, Ms Hayden said: ‘I do not care about that conviction. I know what happened that day in 1999. It is long spent. It is just tittle tattle brought up really to smear me.

‘That was not known to anybody at all until it was leaked to Mumsnet around the time of these offences.’

Ms Hayden also faced questions over a tweet she had written, which Scottow claimed was racist.

Ms Wilson told the court part of the tweet said: ‘Not so long ago, people like you had no civil rights, yet you…’

The full message was not available as Ms Hayden had allegedly deleted it, but Ms Wilson claimed Ms Hayden had sent it to another Twitter user who was black.

Ms Hayden said from the witness box: ‘I am not racist at all. In fact I object to the use of that term. One of the closest figures, and this will sound a cliche, in my life is mixed race.’

Ms Wilson asked her if one of her best friends was black.

Ms Hayden said: ‘I do not know if the person was black. This was a person who was purporting to be black.

‘What this person had been doing contacting transgender people like myself to give harassment and abuse.

‘It was an ill-judged choice of words, I fully accept that and that is why it was deleted.’

She added: ‘The fact is, black people, whether it be in South Africa and the USA, did not have civil rights and what I was trying to say was, here is somebody from a group who did not have civil rights now coming at people like me and abusing and harassing me.’

The court heard how after Scottow accused her of racism, Ms Hayden contacted a staff member at the defendant’s university to raise concerns.

The defendant had allegedly been using three different Twitter accounts to contact Ms Hayden, including @BustedWench, @HampsonAlice and @BishBash58122507, the court heard.

A tweet allegedly made about Ms Hayden from @BishBash58122507 said: ‘Why do you people keep trying to punish others who disagree with you?’

Ms Hayden told the court: ‘I took the view that whoever it was, was trying to engage me in a conversation. I must confess I entertained the conversation for a few Tweets.

‘At the time I am engaging with this account, I have not got a clue that this is the defendant. It is only after the interaction that the suspicion is formed and I make my research.

‘I just considered this person to be a troll on a fishing expedition. I would not have believed that the defendant, who at that stage had been arrested, would be stupid enough to try to contact me.’

Scottow, who was studying a master’s degree in forensic psychology, had previously signed a settlement agreement preventing her from contacting or referring to Ms Hayden online.

The court heard the defendant signed this, but Ms Hayden claimed she had continued messaging her.

Ms Hayden said: ‘I contacted the defendant by email on November 10, 2018.

‘I explained what my position is, I have taken screenshots and I am now going to police, which is what I did.

‘The defendant then replied to me, ”Hayden, as per the signed agreement I have not breached any of the clauses. The Tweets do not support your claims here. If you continue your harassment of me I will be forced to report you to the police, of which I have personal contacts who have already advised me to seek their help if you continue your harassment and allegations”.’

Ms Hayden told the court: ‘I did not like that one bit.’

Scottow has also been accused of revealing on social media Ms Hayden received Personal Independent Payment (PIP), a benefit she was entitled to because she suffered from memory loss.

Mr Wilson said to the complainant: ‘Many people take the view that you cannot change your sex and that is one of the things described on this Mumsnet forum and that is a view they are entitled to hold and state.’

Ms Hayden replied: ‘It is one thing to take a very legitimate point of view, that trans-women are not women, or that your sex cannot be changed, that is one thing.

‘What is not acceptable is to contact individual transgender people or post their photographs online, mocking the way they look, dead naming them.’

Ms Wilson said: ‘The truth of the matter is this prosecution is about the shutting down of women expressing their views.’

Ms Hayden replied: ‘What I take issue with is people who think it is open season on people like me, to publish the fact that I claim a known means-tested benefit for disability.

‘The defendant, as I understand it, has just graduated. She is an intelligent woman. She is entitled to her views.

‘What she is not entitled to do is contact me from multiple accounts, revealing to the world that I claim PIP, or engage in playground politics to harass and abuse me.’

Also today, Scottow, who described herself as a radical feminist, told the court how she had been held in a police cell for seven hours before going through an hour long interview.

The stay-at-home mother, said her children had been present when she was arrested in her kitchen.

Giving evidence during her trial, Scottow said that she had been presented with a diagnosis of anxiety depressive disorder after the birth of her son.

She had also been lactating and menstruating when she was brought to Hatfield police station.

Scottow said: ‘I was very stressed and was pacing, crying. The closer it got to my son’s dinner time, usually about five, I started to get quite bad.

‘I am very much a bravado sort of person. I hate crying in public. I do not even like being touched. I tend to be very stoic.’

The court heard how Scottow had been brought into a police interview where she had declined to have legal representation.

Reading from a transcript of the interview, the court was told Scottow had told officers: ‘I again got irate and posted to her [Ms Hayden] saying ‘I am surprised you can remember, given you are claiming PIP for memory’, which is, I know, immature, nasty, I will admit that but I felt her conduct was so threatening and nasty and I know that two wrongs do not make a right.

‘I knew it would get to Stephanie, I think it was not a nice thing to do but it is something I did. I think it is because I felt I was harassed, I was feeling I was bullied. I reacted in an immature and petty way.

‘I made an error, absolutely, but I do not think it amounts to harassment.’

During the interview, Scottow had referred to Ms Hayden as a ‘he’ and police officers had corrected her, after which she apologised, the court was told.

Prosecuting, John Riley said the police interviewed showed Scottow had contacted Ms Hayden with the purpose of annoying her.

Cross-examining the defendant, Mr Riley said: ‘That pretty much sums up what you did throughout the entirety of this communication.

‘You cannot possibly have thought anything other than what you set out honestly to the officers.

‘You knew throughout the whole process that what you were doing was to cause upset. To cause, perhaps, an emotional reaction. You were determined, weren’t you, to carry on.

‘You could not leave it could you, you could not just drop it and stop your communication with Stephanie Hayden.’

Scottow denied she had intended to cause upset, saying instead that she had been seeking out ‘the truth’ and had acted out of anger with no clear purpose in her mind.

Medics had previously suggested to Scottow she might present as aspergic, she told the court, though she had not yet been diagnosed because she was worried about the impact it might have on the career she wanted to pursue as a forensic psychologist.

Scottow told the court: ‘Part of my being possibly Aspergers is I am not very good at social interaction and not very good at reading a room or people.

‘I am very black and white, I have panic in open spaces, I do not like loud noises. I believe very much in right and wrong and it is quite hard to persuade me.

‘I speak out about things such as men and women cannot change sex, I speak out about injustice and racism is one of my big bug bears – to speak the truth, to expose racism as what it is, bad and unjust.’

The public gallery, full of family and friends who had turned out to support Scottow, listened as she continued her evidence and claimed she had not been intending to cause annoyance or upset when she contacted Ms Hayden. 

The trial continues.


About Author

Leave A Reply