22.08.2001 Tabloid News

Sex-change lawyer jailed again

22.08.2001 LISTEN
By John Robertson Law

A SEX-CHANGE lawyer, who worked in Ghana and is married to a Ghanaian was jailed for three years yesterday for stealing almost £100,000 from an elderly client.

Alexandra MacRae, 60, formerly Stephen Rae, a one-time rugby prop forward and parliamentary candidate, made legal history in 1998 when she was sentenced to 15 months for a similar offence.

MacRae, 60, of St Andrews, was the first biological male in the United Kingdom to be jailed with women. In yesterday’s case, MacRae admitted stealing £99,900 from a woman before and after her death in a nursing home.

The judge at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Carloway, said that the public should be able to trust solicitors who often had to look after substantial sums of money for clients.

A son of the manse from Dundee, Stephen Rae attended schools in the city and in Paris before taking a law degree at Edinburgh University. He worked in Ghana before entering local government in Falkirk, later becoming director of administration with Western Isles Council.

He played for Stornoway Rugby Club and married a Ghanaian nurse, Bibi. But after moving to Inverness, he began to wear women’s clothing and had sex-change surgery in 1984.

MacRae unsuccessfully contested four parliamentary elections for the Scottish National Party, three as a man and the last, in 1992, as a woman.

As a sole legal practitioner, MacRae worked from offices in Victoria Road, Dundee, and specialised in immigration law and helping ethnic groups.

In early 1997, she disappeared but was caught by police in London several weeks later. On being returned to Scotland, she was charged with embezzling £16,700 from a client. She was jailed for 15 months in August 1998. The money in yesterday’s case was embezzled from Sarah Hume for three years before her death in 1993 and then from her estate.

The advocate-depute, Robert McCreadie, said shares had been sold and the proceeds put into accounts in MacRae’s name.

The defence counsel, Charles Boag-Thomson, QC, said: "She found herself increasingly in debt and abused a position of trust."