Transgender cat killer put down as female murderer

Scarlet Blake live streamed the killing of a cat
Scarlet Blake murdered a man in Oxford after previously live-streaming the killing of a cat - PA

The crimes of a transgender cat killer and murderer will be officially recorded as having been committed by a woman, The Telegraph can disclose.

Scarlet Blake, 26, who was born male but identifies as a woman, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 24 years in prison on Monday for the murder of Jorge Martin Carreno in Oxford, having previously mutilated a cat.

Blake has been sent to a male prison, but was referred to as a woman during the trial.

The case has sparked a major row, with JK Rowling, lawyers and former ministers among those criticising descriptions of Blake as a “woman”. There has also been a backlash against guidance that urges judges to allow defendants to choose whether they are referred to as a man or a woman in court.

Thames Valley Police has now confirmed to The Telegraph that Blake’s crimes have been officially recorded as committed by a woman.

A spokesman for the force said: “We are required to record the gender of individuals when they are brought into our custody.

“Blake identified as a female when in custody. As such, Blake is recorded as female on our crime recording system.”

Blake's victim Jorge Martin Carreno
Blake's victim Jorge Martin Carreno was hit over the head by a bottle and pushed into a river - PA

The Ministry of Justice confirmed that the gender logged by the police would be mirrored in official crime and conviction statistics held by the courts and all other parts of the justice system. The department declined to comment.

The decision was condemned as “sinister” and “outrageous” on Wednesday night.

Sir John Hayes, chairman of the Common Sense Group of Tory MPs and a former security minister, told The Telegraph “the alteration of truth is sinister”.

“These truths are being obscured or even eliminated by politically correct nonsense around pronouns, so let’s just deal with facts, not the fanciful fictions of courts that ought to know better.”

Dr Kate Coleman, director of the campaign group Keep Prisons Single Sex, said it was “outrageous” and “complete misrepresentation of the facts”.

Maya Forstater, founder of the campaign group Sex Matters, said: “Police should always record suspects and perpetrators’ sex, both in order to keep them and officers safe during custody, and so that crime statistics are an accurate base for research and prevention.

“No law requires police to record false information about criminals’ sex or to mix it up with the nebulous concept of ‘gender identity’.

“It is high time that the Government told police forces to stop affirming criminals’ fantasies and get back to their day job of investigating crime and bringing wrongdoers to justice.”

Blake was referred to during the Oxford Crown Court trial as “she” and “her” by the judge and Sky News’ coverage referred to the murderer as “a woman”.

The Guardian was publicly accused of “deceiving its readers” by Louise Tickle, an award-winning journalist who has written for the newspaper for more than 20 years, by failing to mention that Blake was trans. Its article was later updated.

The issue prompted Rowling to write on Twitter: “I’m sick of this s---. This is not a woman. These are #NotOurCrimes.”

Blake had live-streamed a video involving a cat being strangled, skinned and dissected before its body was put in a blender, which was inspired in part by a Netflix documentary.

After the dissection, Blake tells the camera in a monosyllabic tone: “One day I want to learn how to do this to a person.”

Months later, Blake hit Carreno over the back of the head with a vodka bottle in July 2021 and choked him before pushing him into the River Cherwell, where he drowned.

In the trial, the judge told jurors to consider the defendant’s “stature”, but insisted that “the fact she is trans on its own has no particular relevance to this case”.

Men are almost twice as likely to harm animals, figures suggest.

From 2022 to 2023, 2,353 (62.9 per cent) of convictions for animal cruelty where the sex of the offender was known were of men and 1,387 (37.1 per cent) were of women. For convictions, 1,489 were for men (64.5 per cent) and 833 were for women (35.9 per cent).

As the row over the case has grown, lawyers have taken issue with official guidance from the Judicial Office which urges judges to “respect” the gender identity of those who appear in the courts by using their chosen name and pronouns.

Naomi Cunningham, a barrister in discrimination law at Outer Temple Chambers, and Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former Cabinet minister, called for the guidance in the Equal Treatment Bench Book to be reviewed, but the Judicial Office has stood by it.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “Scarlet Blake’s gender did not form any part of the prosecution case, which was also highlighted by the judge presiding over the case.

“It has always been our absolute priority to convict the person responsible for Jorge Martin Carreno’s murder, and achieve justice for his family, which has now been done.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of Mr Martin Carreno who have shown immense dignity throughout.

“Thames Valley Police adheres to the law and codes of practice, outlined by the Equality Act 2010, and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) Code C, when establishing and recording the gender of a person in our custody.”