A Sutton man has been jailed after he hurled ‘vile abuse’ at a transgender woman and for continuing to harass her by posting images of her on Facebook.

Darren McClean, of Highdown Lane, made the transphobic comments about Phillipa Baker while they were shopping at a Caterham supermarket on Wednesday, March 15.

Ms Baker asked McClean to stop after he launched into a tirade of abuse, but the offensive remarks continued and the 38-year-old began to take pictures of her on his mobile phone.

Security staff intervened and removed McClean from the store following the confrontation, which left Ms Baker visibly shaken.

McClean later posted the images he had taken on Facebook and persisted in making hateful comments.

Following his arrest McClean pleaded guilty to abusive behaviour to cause harassment and was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment at Guilford Crown Court on Friday, April 21.

Ms Baker said: “The comments that were made to me were completely vile. He spoke with such hatred which I have not been subjected to previously. I was just minding my own business paying for my items when I was caught off guard by the abuse I received.”

Officer Kara Lyford added: “Philippa was subjected to an awful ordeal whilst simply going about her day-to-day life. McLean not only verbally abused her but then proceeded to threaten her and take pictures of her without her consent. When she asked him to stop, he refused and continued to hurl abuse and made extremely offensive and unacceptable comments.

“As a result Philippa has suffered a great deal and has feared for her personal safety. I would like to reassure the residents of Caterham and particularly our LGBT+ communities that we do not tolerate hate crime in any way. We take all reports of hate seriously and will take action. This sentencing result will hopefully give Philippa a sense of justice that she deserves.”

If you have been the victim of a hate crime call Sutton police on 101, or Crimestoppers alternatively on 0800 555 111.