Woman who posed as man guilty of sexual assault

Gayle Newland Image copyright PA
Image caption Gayle Newland claimed she and her former girlfriend were engaging in role play and fantasy

A woman who posed as a man to dupe her friend into sleeping with her has been found guilty of sexual assault.

Gayle Newland, 25, demanded the other woman wear a blindfold when they met, and used a prosthetic penis while carrying out the assaults.

Newland, of Willaston, Cheshire, had told a court the pair were engaging in role play and fantasy.

But a Chester Crown Court jury found her guilty of three sexual assault charges.

She was cleared of two other counts of the same charge.

Newland had told jurors the other woman had known she was female, and both of them had been struggling with their sexuality.

She had denied using a blindfold, and said she did not strap bandages to her chest and wear a woollen hat and swimsuit, as the victim had alleged.

But during the four-day trial she did admit to creating a fake Facebook profile in the name Kye Fortune.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Newland contacted the other woman on Facebook after creating a fake profile in the name of Kye Fortune

The victim told the jury how she met "Kye" online in 2011, and the pair struck up a friendship.

Kye initially told her he was not well enough to see her due to being treated for car accident injuries and a brain tumour.

But the pair spoke frequently on the phone, the court heard, and eventually arranged to meet for sex at a hotel on the condition the woman wore a blindfold - because Kye was embarrassed by his scars.

They went on to spend more than 100 hours in each other's company in hotels and the victim's flat, with the assaults taking place between February and June 2013.

The deception was finally uncovered during their final sexual encounter, when the victim removed the blindfold and saw Newland instead of Kye.

'Elaborate deception'

She insisted she had always believed Kye had been a man, telling the court: "In hindsight I wish I had ripped that mask off sooner."

Adjourning the case for sentencing, Judge Roger Dutton said Newland had "serious issues surrounding her personality".

He warned her she may face "serious consequences" when she is sentenced in November.

In response, Newland shouted: "How can you send me down for something I have not done?"

She broke down in tears and repeatedly said "I don't understand, I don't understand", after the verdict was returned.

The judge thanked jurors for their "careful consideration" of the case and said it would present a "difficult sentencing exercise".

Det Insp Clare Coleman, of Cheshire Constabulary, said it was "important to remember there is a victim at the heart of [the case]".

"This was a highly elaborate deception where Newland abused the trust that the victim had in her," she said.

"She has been extremely upset by what has happened and there is no doubt there will be a lasting psychological impact on her."

Newland was released on bail prior to sentencing.

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