A woman has been convicted of impersonating a man for more than two years in an “astonishing deception” to trick her female friend into sex.
Gayle Newland, 27, of Willaston, Cheshire, created a “disturbingly complex” online persona to achieve her own “bizarre sexual satisfaction”.
A retrial jury at Manchester Crown Court found her guilty of committing sexual assault by using a prosthetic penis without her victim’s consent.
She will be sentenced on 20 July.
The complainant, who gave evidence behind a curtain, told the court she was persuaded by the defendant to wear a blindfold at all times when they met, and only found out she was having sex with Newland – rather than a man – when she finally took off her mask.
She said she thought she was having sex with Kye Fortune – a fake Facebook profile Newland created at the age of 15 using an American man’s photographs and videos.
The complainant said Kye told her he was undergoing treatment for cancer and was paranoid about his physical appearance.
She told the court she agreed to his demands for her to wear a blindfold, consisting of a sleeping mask and a light scarf, because she was in love.
The complainant, also in her mid 20s, said: “There was no point until the day I took the blindfold off that I thought for one second that a woman was the person behind this.”
Prosecutor Simon Medland QC asked her: “To who were you consenting?”
The complainant replied: “With Kye Fortune. The person I knew from the photos, the person I had spoken to, the person I shared all my dreams with, the person who I thought was half-Filipino half-Latino.”
Newland, who graduated from the University of Chester with a degree in marketing and creative writing, told the court the pair met in a nightclub in 2011.
Newland claimed the complainant knew about the Kye Fortune persona and the pair began communicating in character.
The defendant told the court she never dressed as a man and no blindfold was ever used when they had intercourse on about 10 occasions at the complainant’s flat in Chester.
Newland claimed her accuser always knew she was pretending to be Kye as they engaged in role play while struggling with their sexuality.
Mr Medland QC said: “This manipulative, deceitful and very crafty young woman went to such astonishing lengths to control the complainant’s life and make her do the things the defendant wanted her to do.”
Newland was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault and cleared of a fourth count. She was told by the judge she would have to sign the sex offenders register.
The Recorder of Manchester, Judge David Stockdale QC, granted Newland bail ahead of sentencing but told her the “overwhelming likelihood” was that she would receive “a significant immediate custodial sentence”.
The verdicts can be reported after reporting restrictions imposed at the start of the retrial were lifted.
Newland was jailed for eight years in November 2015 after she was convicted of the same offences by another jury at Chester Crown Court.
The conviction was quashed in the Court of Appeal in December and a retrial was ordered after it was ruled that the trial judge’s summing up of the case was not fair and balanced.