Monday 5 December 2016

Woman who tricked two teenage girls into relationships by disguising as a boy faces jail

Published 17/01/2012 | 12:54

A "mistress of disguise" turned herself into a series of different "boys" to launch "sexual affairs" with two unsuspecting young girls, a court in England has heard.

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Gemma Barker, 19, created three separate fictional characters on the internet who went on to introduce themselves to the 16-year-old victims online as potential dates, the court heard.

Even though the girls knew Barker well they were totally taken in when she dressed up as two different teenage males and started real-life relationships with them.

The court heard how even the parents of one of the victims were duped by the defendant's guise.

The judge Peter Moss remarked that the defendant "involved a convoluted deception of everyone she met."

The bizarre affairs "involved kissing, cuddling and groping," Ruby Selva, prosecuting, told



"Had either of them realised that the 'boys' with whom they were having relationships was in fact a girl, they would never have consented to what happened," said Ms Selva.

But the defendant was eventually rumbled by the police when one of the girls suspected that the boy she was dating was not who he said he was.

Even so, both victims were astounded to discover that they had been having an affair with a girl - and someone they knew well, the court heard.

Now Barker is facing a possible prison sentence of up to two years after admitting sexual assault.

The court was told late on Monday afternoon, that the defendant became so involved in her make-believe world that she even made up a tale that one of her male characters had assaulted her - as part of a ploy by her to try to con money out of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

Barker, now 20, and who at the time was living in West Molesey, Surrey, pleaded guilty to two specimen charges of sexual assault and one of fraud.

She was remanded on bail until March 2 for probation and psychological reports.

Adjourning the case, the judge said Barker could be described as "mad and dangerous to know."

He said: "It's an unusual case. She is potentially very damaging to other people."

Judge Moss added: "What concerns me is that it has got a very mean and manipulative streak to it. And it's very serious. The girls she preyed on are much younger than her."

The court heard that the offences were carried out over a seven-month period between November 23, 2009, and May 10, 2010.

Ms Selva said that the defendant was 19 at the time and she knew both girls whom she would drive to parties and socialise with.

For the purposes of getting close to the two of them, Barker created three fictitious characters called Aaron Lampard, Conor McCormack and Luke Jones who would have Facebook profiles, email addresses and mobile phone numbers.

"The defendant introduced herself on line as a boy using these different identities," she said.

Ms Selva said that when Barker introduced herself in the flesh to the girls, she would wear hats and baggy clothes to hide her gender from them.

She said that the defendant even introduced herself to the family of one of the victims.

"They, too, were taken in by her character even though they had met Miss Barker," added Ms Selva.

Finally one of the girls began to suspect that something was wrong when she thought the 'boy' she was dating looked like the lad whom the other victim was having a relationship with.

"Even at this stage she didn't realise it was the defendant," said Ms Selva

But eventually the police were called in and after a lengthy and detailed investigation it was discovered what Barker had been up to, the court was told.

"It became apparent that the person was a female," said Ms Selva.

It meant that Facebrook friends of the three bogus boys had to be contacted by detectives as part of the inquiries, she added.

During the period under investigation, it emerged that Barker had tried unsuccessfully to swindle compensation cash by claiming that one of her characters, Luke Jones, had assaulted her, she disclosed.

Ms Chetna Patel, defending, said her client had never been in trouble with the law before.

She said Barker's strange deceptions began after the victims had told her what their ideal boys would be like.

Ms Patel said that the defendant decided to create the "ideal boy" that the victims wanted in a desperate attempt to hang on to her friendship with the two girls.

"My client is rather a lonely person," she said.

She said that Barker appeared to be suffering from a disorder within the autism spectrum.

"It's a very odd and exceptional case," she added.

Barker was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register. Judge Moss warned: "By releasing you on bail, I'm not giving any indication of what the sentence will be.

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