A MAN who told a court he was undergoing a sex change after being caught dodging a taxi fare was back before magistrates yesterday – for leaving another cabbie out of pocket.
The accused appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in April last year – under the name Gavin Brannen and dressed as a woman – after racking up a £27 taxi bill on a trip from Newcastle to South Shields before fleeing the vehicle.
The court heard on that occasion that he was going through gender reassignment and wanted to be known as Katie. The 22-year-old was back at the court yesterday, under the name of Katie Brannen, after dashing off at the end of another taxi ride from Sunderland to her home in Frederick Street, South Shields, without paying a £20 bill.
Brannen pleaded guilty to making off without payment and was fined £110 and warned that she had to learn the ‘consequences’ of her decisions.
Lee Poppett, prosecuting, said: “At 4.45am on Sunday, June 8, the taxi driver picked up three people in Vine Place in Sunderland. Two of them got out in East Vines in Sunderland, leaving only Brannen in the taxi. She said she had sufficient funds for the taxi.
“When the taxi got to Frederick Street she got out and walked away. The taxi driver asked what she was doing and she said she was going to get money for the taxi.
“He was suspicious and followed her.
“She ran away and the police were called.”
Laura Johnson, defending, said: “She didn’t have enough money for the taxi and has made a bad decision.”
Kenneth Webster, chairman of the magistrates, said: “You have had leeway from the court in the past. You need to understand the decisions you make have consequences, one of which is appearing in court again.
“We are not impressed – especially as you’ve done something similar in the past.”
Brannen was ordered to pay £20.20 compensation to the taxi driver, costs of £85 and a £20 victim surcharge – making for a total court bill of £235.20.