Woman who posed as man to trick friend into sex is jailed for six years

Woman who posed as man to trick friend into sex is jailed for six years
Gayle Newland arrives at Manchester Crown Court where she is due to be sentenced after being found guilty last month of deceiving her female friend into sex by pretending to be a man. Picture: Press Association

A woman who duped her female friend into having sex by pretending to be a man has been jailed for six and a half years.

Gayle Newland, of Willaston, Cheshire, created a "disturbingly complex" online persona to achieve her own "bizarre sexual satisfaction", carrying on the deceit for more than two years.

The 27-year-old was found guilty at a retrial at Manchester Crown Court in June of committing sexual assault by penetration, using a prosthetic penis without her blindfolded victim’s consent.

Newland sobbed and slumped to the floor of the dock as sentence was handed down on Thursday.

She was originally jailed for eight years in November 2015 after she was convicted of the same offences.

But the conviction was later quashed on the grounds that the trial judge’s summing up of the case was not fair and balanced.

Newland received concurrent terms of six years for three counts of sexual assault committed in 2013.

She was handed an extra six months in jail for an offence of fraud committed between March 2014 and September 2015.

Reporting restrictions on the fraud matter were lifted on Thursday by the Recorder of Manchester, Judge David Stockdale QC.

The defendant admitted defrauding her former employers, an internet-based advertising agency, of £9,000 by creating fake client profiles.

The retrial jury was not told of the fraud conviction until it had returned its verdicts.

udge Stockdale told Newland: "She (the complainant) did not consent to these invasive acts of penetration because her willing compliance with your abusive behaviour was obtained by a deceit.

"This was a deceit of such subtlety and cunning in its planning and was a deceit, from your point of view, so successful in its execution that an outsider unaware of the full history of the case might find it difficult to comprehend.

"But truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction. The truth, the whole truth, here is as surprising as it is profoundly disturbing."

He went on: "It is difficult to conceive of a deceit so degrading or so damaging for the victim upon its discovery."

Newland had told her victim, also in her 20s, to wear a blindfold at all times when they met at the complainant’s flat.

She created a fictional Facebook profile, pretending to be a half-Filipino half-Latino man called Kye Fortune, using an American man’s photographs and videos.

She spent "hundreds" of hours talking on the telephone to her friend as Kye, telling her "emotionally vulnerable" victim "he" was undergoing treatment for cancer and was paranoid about his physical appearance.

The complainant agreed to demands for her to wear a blindfold at all times during up to 15 sexual encounters and while watching television, going on a car journey and even sunbathing.

Newland denied concealing her true identity and claimed both women were gay and struggling with their sexuality when they met and had sex, with her as Kye, during role-play.

The court heard that Newland held a senior position with her unnamed former employer, which paid bloggers to post content.

SImon Medland QC, prosecuting, said Newland "manipulated" the firm’s payments system in which contributors were rewarded with small sums for posting content.

He said: "In order for the defendant to make the scam work for her, she needed to create the fake blogger profiles to fool the company’s directors into thinking that the person really existed and had really done the work.

"It was of sophisticated nature and involved significant planning."

Newland’s barrister, Nigel Power QC, conceded it was "stupid offending" given that she was on bail at the time while police investigated the sexual allegations made against her.

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