Leeds & West Yorkshire

Transgender prisoner Vikki Thompson funeral takes place

Robert Steel and Vikki Thompson Image copyright Robert Steele
Image caption The case of Vikki Thompson was raised in the House of Lords

The funeral of a transgender woman who was found dead at a male prison has taken place.

Vikki Thompson, 21, died at Armley jail, near Leeds, on 13 November. She had said she would kill herself if sent to a male prison.

She was in custody awaiting sentencing for robbery and was being held in a single-occupancy cell at HMP Leeds.

Family and supporters gathered at Oakworth Crematorium, near Keighley, West Yorkshire, to pay their respects.

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'Time for change'

Speaking after the funeral, Alex Kaye, of transgender support group SafeT, said: "It's a tragedy that shouldn't have happened.

"It's unjust and it's an unbelievable time for people who knew Vikki.

"It signifies a time for change, a very important change that has to happen."

Ms Thompson's death prompted calls for a shake-up of the way transgender prisoners are handled by authorities.

Justice Department minister Lord Faulks said the policy regarding transgender prisoners was currently under review.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of Ms Thompson's death was thought to be hanging.

Image copyright Ian White
Image caption Family and supporters of Ms Thompson attended her funeral at Oakworth on Thursday
Image copyright Ian White
Image caption Vikki Thompson's partner Bob Steele left a message for her

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