A 35-YEAR-OLD man has been convicted of assaulting the transgender estranged husband of his partner.

But Blackburn magistrates gave Gareth Stuart Parker an absolute discharge because in their view, there had been ‘extreme provocation’.


And the magistrates made no order for costs and rejected a prosecution application for a restraining order which defence solicitor Aftab Bakhat said could be used by Michaela James, formerly known as Michael Earnshaw, to get Parker into further trouble.

Parker, of Higher Croft Road, Blackburn, pleaded not guilty to assaulting Miss James.

The court heard the incident occurred outside the home of Suzanne Earnshaw, the estranged partner of Miss James, in Red Earth Road, Darwen.

Miss James, who has three children, had parked across the road from the house before going to the front door to conclude some business with Mrs Earnshaw. As she left she claimed Parker came out and called her Mike which she said ‘sickened her’. She felt Parker was being derogatory because of her being transgender.

“He was saying things with regard to me wearing make-up and dresses,” said Miss James.

She claimed Parker then pushed her with both hands causing her to fall between two parked cars and land in the road. Miss James, who had recorded the incident on a Dictaphone in her pocket, called the police on her mobile phone because she said she ‘felt’ there was going to be trouble.

Parker told the court he had been in the house when Miss James, who works at WEC in Darwen, came round but waited until he thought she had gone before leaving. He claimed Miss James came back towards him and her opening remarks were abusive, a claim supported by the recording which was played to the court.

Parker accepted pushing Miss James, 45, but said they had been pushing each other and his motive was to stop Miss James from going back to the house. The court was told Miss James had a previous conviction for harassing Mrs Earnshaw.

Parker said he and Miss James had been pushing each other and he felt she only fell over because she was wearing high heels.

Speaking after the hearing, Miss James, who lives in Ramsbottom, said she had been left ‘sickened’ by what happened.

She said: “He abused me in front of my children. It was horrific.”