A British woman has been sentenced to eight years in jail for pretending to be a man in order to have a sexual relationship with a female friend that she met online.
Gayle Newland, 25, of Cheshire, England, created an detailed Facebook profile under the name Kye Fortune, and began an online relationship in 2011 with the complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
When the two finally arranged to meet in February 2013, Newland asked the other woman to wear a blindfold. She continued to ask her to wear a blindfold for subsequent meetings, telling her that ‘Kye’ was self-conscious of his appearance because of a disfiguring injury.
The two women had sex around ten times, until the complainant tore off her mask and saw Newland wearing a prosthetic penis.
Newland was found guilty after trial in September.
Today, at her sentencing hearing at Chester Crown Court, Judge Roger Dutton labeled Newland, ‘an intelligent, obsessional, highly manipulative, deceitful, scheming and thoroughly determined young woman,’ reports the Daily Mail.
‘To successfully pass off a deception of this complexity was a major undertaking involving dedicated mobile phone lines as well as regular texts from you purporting to be Kye’s relatives.
‘You pursued this course of conduct over a lengthy period during which you played with her affections, acting entirely for your own sexual satisfaction and choosing to ignore the devastating impact that the eventual discovery of the truth would have on her.’
Newland had claimed in her defense that no blindfold had ever been used and that the defendant had always known that she was a woman, but that they had engaged in role play while exploring their sexuality.
The complainant has said that she is not gay.
Newland’s defense team said it was it was ‘impossible to believe’ the complainant’s statement that she had believed Newland to be a man.
However, evidence introduced to the court included emails that Newland had sent to the complainant after her mask had been removed apologizing for her actions.
The jury found her guilty of three counts of sexual assault. She was cleared of two further counts of sexual assault that were alleged to have taken place at hotels in Hoole and Chester, reports the Chester Chronicle.
Newland’s legal team asked the judge to show mercy in her sentencing, pointing to psychiatric reports that Newland suffered from a range of disorders, including a social anxiety disorder, a personality disorder and depression. The reports also said that she had struggled to come to terms with her sexuality.
However, The Mirror reports the judge as saying, ‘These offences are so serious that only an immediate sentence of custody will reflect the seriousness of conduct.’
Newland was visibly distressed throughout the sentencing hearing, shouting ‘I’m scared’ to the court.
On being told the actual sentence, Newland had to be held up and forcibly removed from the dock by two officers and could be heard to cry and scream as she was led away from the courtroom.
Throughout the trial she has enjoyed support from friends and family, many of whom sobbed in the public gallery on hearing the judge’s sentence.
Detective Inspector Clare Coleman, head of Cheshire Constabulary’s Dedicated Rape Unit, said: ‘The sentence handed down today reflects the seriousness of this crime.
‘This has been a highly unusual and complex investigation. 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.’