Friday 30 September 2016

Guilty: Woman convicted of three sexual assaults in prosthetic penis case

Kim Pilling

Published 15/09/2015 | 14:57

Gayle Newland
Gayle Newland

A woman has been convicted of impersonating a man over two years to dupe her friend into having sex.

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Gayle Newland, 25, disguised her appearance and voice as she demanded the other woman put on a blindfold when meeting up.

The pair had sex about 10 times until the complainant ripped off her mask and in disbelief saw Newland wearing a prosthetic penis.

Newland claimed her accuser, also aged 25, always knew she was pretending to be a man as they engaged in role play while struggling with their sexuality, Chester Crown Court heard.

Read more: Woman 'wore mask while watching TV and having sex' to dupe friend into believing she was her 'boyfriend', court hears

She said no blindfold was used and she did not strap bandages to her chest and wear a woollen hat and swimsuit.

The jury of eight women and four men convicted the defendant, from Willaston, Cheshire, of three counts of sexual assault.

She was cleared of two other counts of sexual assault.

The jurors reached majority verdicts on which 10 of them agreed on each of the three guilty counts after six hours and 11 minutes of deliberation.

Newland was found guilty of committing sexual assaults at the complainant's flat but was cleared of similar offences said to have taken place at hotels in Chester.

The defendant sat in stunned silence in the dock when the foreman returned the verdicts.

Adjourning the case for pre-sentence reports, Judge Roger Dutton told the court that Newland had "serious issues surrounding her personality".

Addressing Newland, he said: "You have been convicted of serious charges. You must understand the consequences may be serious."

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

She tearfully repeatedly asked the question and then said: "I don't understand, I don't understand."

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

He went on: "Sentencing guidelines are quite clear that imprisonment is inevitable but I need a good deal of further examination before I take that further step."

Newland was bailed until sentencing on a date to be fixed in November.

She was told she must reside at an address provided to the court, not to contact the complainant and not to contact anyone under an assumed identity.

Read more: Male impersonator 'deliberately targeted naive woman' to dupe her into having sex with her while blindfolded, court hears

The judge said Newland would be seen by the Probation Service and a psychiatrist as part of the pre-sentence report.

Newland admitted creating a bogus Facebook profile in the name of Kye Fortune but said her friend played along with her online persona.

The defendant spent "hundreds" of hours talking on the telephone to her friend as Kye and more than 100 hours in each other's company in hotels and the complainant's flat.

These encounters, according to the complainant, included her wearing a blindfold watching television and even sunbathing together, the trial heard.

The prosecution said it was an "unusual" case set against an "extraordinary background" in which the defendant targeted the "naive and vulnerable" complainant.

But Newland's legal team said the complainant's account was simply "impossible to believe".

Newland created the character of Fortune when she was 13 because she found it difficult to speak to girls in real life.

By the age of 15 or 16, she went on to develop a Facebook profile of "half-Filipino, half-Latino" Fortune by downloading photographs from an American man's Myspace page.

Fortune sent a Facebook friend request to the complainant in 2011 and the pair went on to communicate frequently on the telephone.

The complainant was told by Kye that he had been involved in a car accident and doctors subsequently detected a brain tumour.

He said he was having treatment in hospital and was not well enough to see her in person

Fortune later "introduced" the complainant to his "best friend", Newland, who met up in person and became close friends themselves.

Fortune and Newland shared the same birth date, both liked RnB music and "chick flicks" and had a dog named Gypsy, the jury heard.

The pair finally met in February 2013 two months after Fortune had sent her an eternity ring in the post.

The complainant told the court: "Every time I met up with Kye Fortune I either had the mask on already or he would wait outside the door and I would put it on.

"I was so desperate to be loved. It's pathetic, so desperate for love, so desperate.

"We were just lying there, just cuddling, sometimes we would watch films, sometimes we would just talk. It sounds stupid to say but it was a proper relationship, just normal."

She went on: "Since the first time I wrote to this person on Facebook, I thought it was a male.

Read more: Woman who claims she did not know boyfriend was female 'told her to buy fake penis'

"The first time I agreed to meet this person and agreed to have sex with them, I thought it was a male

"I told my my friends I was engaged to a guy. I told my work colleagues."

She said she was not attracted to women and said, although it sounded "sick", she would have preferred to be have been raped by a man because she could not rationalise it.

The jury heard that another woman said she had been duped by Newland into believing she was communicating with a man.

She said she added the "good looking" Fortune as a Facebook friend and an online relationship developed.

They went on to communicate by phone and she noticed that his voice was "quite high pitched".

The pair started off as friends but became closer and in time Kye referred to her as his girlfriend, the court heard.

She suggested to him that that they meet up but said he always came up with an excuse not to.

She used Facetime on her phone to speak to him in person but he would never show his face, she said.

Another Facetime conversation involved Kye said to be walking his dog, Gypsy.

The court heard that she discovered she had been in contact with Newland and not Fortune when she spotted the same dog by chance on the defendant 's Facebook page.

She phoned Fortune's number, asked for Gayle and immediately recognised from her voice that Fortune and Gayle were one and the same.

The woman stated: "I knew that Gayle Newland had pretended to be Kye Fortune.

"I hung up immediately. I felt stupid."

The head of Cheshire Constabulary's Dedicated Rape Unit, Detective Inspector Clare Coleman, said it was a "highly unusual and complex investigation".

She added: "There has been a lot of interest in this case due to the extraordinary circumstances, but it is important to remember that there is a victim at the heart of all of this.

"This was a highly elaborate deception where Newland abused the trust that the victim had in her. She has been extremely upset by what has happened and there is no doubt that there will be a lasting psychological impact on her.

"This case highlights that Cheshire Constabulary takes all allegations of sexual assault seriously."

Newland had asked her victim to wear a blindfold because she said Fortune was insecure about his looks following the supposed hospital surgery, the complainant told the jury.

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