A DUDLEY woman who was born a man has been spared further time behind bars after she threatened to cut off a neighbour's head with a samurai sword because she thought he was trying to steal her bike.

Mercedes Davies, who had been known as Mark, had moments earlier pointed a loaded crossbow at another man after enduring "lifelong mockery" in the community because of her gender issues.

She armed herself with the lethal weapons feeling she was again being tormented by the theft of the bike in what she now accepted was an "ill thought" move, said Mr Stephen Cadwaladr defending.

He said 40 year old Davies had been in constant fear since her arrest having been held on remand in a male prison where she had been assaulted, abused and ridiculed by other inmates.

"The abuse she has suffered for years in the community has been much greater in the prison environment," he told Wolverhampton Crown Court as he stressed she had been a "figure for mockery" in her neighbourhood.

Judge Dean Kershaw told Davies he would treat her as a female defendant and said it would be "absurd" to think she had endured anything other than an extremely difficult time while being held in prison.

The offending was serious, he said, but he ruled he was satisfied she had picked up the crossbow and samurai sword to frighten rather than cause harm. "You were excitable and clearly not thinking right," said the Judge.

Davies, of Cinder Bank, admitted making threats while in possession of the sword and also possessing an offensive weapon- the loaded crossbow.

She was given a 16 month jail term suspended for two years and further told she must obey a four month curfew order having spent a month in custody on remand.

Mr Cadwaladr told the court that because of her emotional state Davies had little recollection of the incident and the weapons which belonged to her soldier father had been on display in the family home.

"She has had lifelong issues dealing with her emotions," he went on. "They have lead to mockery and abuse and that in turn has lead to confrontations."

Davies who has been married for the last eight years misread the situation regarding the bike. "There was a misunderstanding she over-reacted and she went out to remonstrate."

Miss Wendy Miller prosecuting said Davies had pointed a crossbow at a neighbour who punched her in the face. She then went to fetch a second crossbow before returning to her home to pick up the sword which had a 3ft blade.

She said Davies had 16 previous convictions on her criminal record for offences including violence, threatening behaviour and theft.

Mr Cadwaladr said Davies accepted she had posed a risk with the weapons and what she did was "highly dangerous."

She had felt she was again being tormented because of the bike and that lead to her behaving in a totally unacceptable manner.