Layla le Fey: victim statement

Today I realised that the Daily Mail’s coverage of the sentencing of the trans-identifying man, Layla le Fey, who made disgusting threats against me and @ThePosieParker, misrepresented my victim statement to the court. It claimed I had researched Le Fey for my book, when in fact I had never heard of him before he made the threats in response to my tweet about the paperback coming out (a year after the hardback). It put sentences in quotes that are nowhere in the statement.

Most infuriatingly, it quoted me as calling Le Fey “she” – of course I bloody didn’t! I have complained and asked for the references to me and my words to be corrected or removed. 

Here’s the actual statement.


I am used to the robust and sometimes unpleasant tone of debate online, and my usual approach is to mute or block anyone offensive. I never get into back-and-forths, and I accept that other people have the right to think differently to me, and the right to criticise me, my thinking and my speaking.

But seeing this tweet expressing such disgusting sentiments about me – a man describing how he wanted to mutilate and torture me, how much he would enjoy cutting and hurting me – was a quite different matter. When I sought to work out who he was and discovered that he had already been in jail for a violent attack on a member of the public, it made me genuinely scared. This isn’t just a “twitter rando” whom I could ignore – it would be naive of me to think that his revolting words would not ever lead to him being a genuine danger to me.

I’m not a rich, famous person who can afford top security measures. I’m just an ordinary middle-aged woman with children living in a family home. My work for a human-rights organisation means that I quite often attend events as a speaker, and my presence is publicised in advance. Someone who wants to hurt me would find it very easy to work out where I would be on quite frequent occasions.

This is scary, and makes me constantly consider whether I should accept invitations that are more important for my career and my activism. I now routinely ask event organisers what security measures they have in place, and take more care when I am out in public – walking or using public transport.

Sometimes when I get near to a venue that I’m aware people will know I’m going to be at, I wear a hat and put a scarf over my face in the hope that I’m less recognisable. I also arrange to meet friendly people some way away from venues and make the last part of the journey in company.

In other words, this man’s actions have restricted my life in ways that are totally unacceptable.

I normally sleep well, but the process of reporting this crime and having to think about this violent man and his unprovoked hatred for me – a woman he has never met – has on occasion kept me awake. I have lost trust in other people, and am now more cynical than I used to be about the willingness of institutions to stand up for women who fight for women’s rights, in the face of male violence.

14th January 2024

Subscribe to Helen Joyce

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.