Women's prisons across the country are gearing up for an influx of previously male convicts who are determined to live life as women after being sentenced, as more and more are following the example of the Wikileaks soldier.
East End gangster Mick Garthenby, convicted today of extortion and attempted murder, has just announced his new identity as a woman called Melissa, a mild-mannered spinster who likes cats and Jane Austen novels. He's the first to admit he's done wrong, but he feels a six-month stint in Holloway prison will suffice to straighten him out, “preferably among Brazilian pole-dancers awaiting deportation”.
However, there has been much criticism of this trend in the traditional convict community, where new fads among prisoners are viewed with suspicion. “I'm all in favour of people getting in touch with their feminine side, but there's more than enough scope for that in here as it is”, says armed robber Len “Shower-Soap” Campbell, “'Just relax and pretend you're a woman', I always tell nervous new cellmates as I strip naked and cosy up to them”.