Taunts drove cross-dressing postman to dump his mail

A cross-dressing postman who hid hundreds of parcels at home says he did it to avoid stone-throwing yobs making his life a misery.

Michael Pearson, 43, who admitted hoarding 234 packages and dumping 29 in a supermarket car park, was hounded by teenage gangs on his rounds in Cleckheaton.

After the sentencing at Dewsbury Magistrates Court, Pearson, who calls himself Michelle when he dresses as a woman, spoke yesterday of how louts used to shout: "Are you a man or are you a woman?"

He said firefighters, taxi drivers and all postmen were targeted and abused on the rough Fieldhead estate, where buses will not even venture.

And although Pearson tried to hide his alter-ego from his workmates, it appears the young thugs noticed he had shiny long hair and nicely shaped eyebrows, so they abused him for it.

The court heard the trusted postman had tried to shorten his round to "reduce the risk of confrontation with the youths".

He attended court wearing a dress, high heels and matching pink lipstick and nail varnish.

Suspicious officials searched his home in September after spotting him peeling address labels off packaging in a pub car park and dumping the parcels in a bin at a Tesco supermarket.

Daniel Metcalf, for Pearson, told magistrates that most of the letters were junk mail and circulars.

Pearson admitted delaying 264 postal packages and criminal damage at an earlier hearing.

The father-of-one, who now does odd jobs after being forced to resign, has said he is sorry for harming Royal Mail and regrets having done it.

Pearson, who lives with his wife, Amanda, 41, and son Jamie, six, was given a four-month suspended jail term and ordered to carry out 150 hours' unpaid work. He must also pay 300 towards the cost of the Royal Mail investigation.

From his home in Cleckheaton he said: "I really wish I hadn't done this to Royal Mail; they are a good company and were always good to me.

"I am so sorry for what I have done and for blackening their name.

"I did not do anything maliciously. My life was being made hell and I could not cope with it. I believe the attacks made me slide into a kind of depression."

Pearson said he had always felt different and started wearing his mother's underwear from the young age of four. He has been openly wearing women's clothes for eight years now, but his wife has only known about his cross-dressing for three years.

Mrs Pearson is still finding it difficult with the fact that he is on the NHS waiting list for a sex change but for the moment she remains by his side. His son laughs at him and calls him "ladyman".

Pearson said: "I am glad Jamie finds it funny. I encourage him to talk about it – I feel it's important we have a healthy approach to my transexuality."

Pearson had always tried to keep it from the workplace and dressed in the standard Royal Mail unisex uniform of trousers and jacket. But as he struggled with his secret he became more of a recluse at work.

He said: "It was hard at work, I found it hard to relate to the guys without them knowing what I was going through. But my secret is out now, so now people will know what it was like for me."

After the court hearing a Royal Mail spokesman said: "We have a zero tolerance approach to any dishonesty and that stance is shared by the overwhelming majority of postmen and women, who are honest and hardworking and who do all they can to protect the mail and deliver it safely.

"We will always seek to prosecute the tiny minority of people who abuse their position of trust."