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Leeds Christian preacher sentenced for harassing transgender woman

|News, Hate crime

David McConnell, a Christian street preacher, has been sentenced to a 12 month community order with 80 hours unpaid work after being found guilty of harassing a transgender woman in Leeds city centre.

In June 2021, David McConnell was preaching with a microphone in front of a small crowd of onlookers in Briggate, Leeds. The victim, who is transgender, filmed the preacher saying that “adulterers, drunkards and homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.”

McConnell was politely challenged by the victim who asked if, in general terms, God accepted the LGBT community. McConnell replied forcefully that God hated sin, that homosexuality was an “abomination in the eyes of God” and that lesbianism was “unnatural”. 

He referred to the victim loudly and repeatedly throughout as ‘this gentleman’, and ‘a man in woman’s clothing.’

The victim found this distressing as she had been outed in front of a crowd of strangers.

Elizabeth Wright from the CPS said:

“People have the right to hold opinions and express their views, but when words cross the line between a legitimate expression of religious views and become distressing and threatening, the CPS will prosecute offenders if our legal test is met.

“In this case, by repeatedly referring to the female victim as ‘this gentleman’ and ‘a man in woman’s clothing’, using a microphone in a public place, McConnell’s comments crossed the line between a legitimate expression of his religious views, to become a distressing and threatening personal attack.”

Notes to editors

  • David McConnell (DOB: 12/09/80)
  • Elizabeth Wright is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS Yorkshire and Humberside

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