Woman who posed as man to have sex with friend jailed for 8 years
A woman who impersonated a man to trick her female friend into sex in a "complex" and "bizarre" two-year deception has been jailed for eight years.
Gayle Newland, 25, wailed as she had to be forcibly removed from the dock at Chester Crown Court to begin her sentence.
Newland, of Willaston, Cheshire, disguised her appearance and voice as she persuaded the other woman to wear a blindfold at all times when they met up.
The pair had sex up to 10 times until the complainant, also aged 25, decided to take her mask off and in disbelief saw Newland wearing a prosthetic penis.
The prosecution had said it was an "unusual case" set against an "extraordinary background" in which the defendant targeted the "naive and vulnerable" complainant, who said she was not gay.
Newland claimed her accuser always knew she was pretending to be a man as they engaged in role play while struggling with their sexuality.
She said that no blindfold was used and she did not strap bandages to her chest or wear a woollen hat and swimsuit.
But a jury found the complainant was telling the truth and convicted Newland in September of three counts of sexual assault.
Sentencing her today, Judge Roger Dutton told the defendant, a marketing manager, that she was "an intelligent, obsessional, highly manipulative, deceitful, scheming and thoroughly determined young woman".
Newland created a bogus Facebook profile in the name of "Kye Fortune" and was then said to have taken on the persona as she mimicked a man to speak many times on the phone with the victim after their first contact in 2011.
Judge Dutton said the creation of the alter ego character was "central to the case".
Facebook entries included the "most detailed information" about the man, his family and friends, with many dozens of photographs to "back up the illusion", he said.
The complainant believed she was in an online relationship with a boy she liked very much, said the judge, but Newland made regular excuses as to why they could not meet in person.
The complainant told the jury that when they finally decided to meet in February 2013, "Kye" asked her to wear a blindfold, saying he was insecure about his looks after life-saving brain surgery.
In what the judge said was the "bizarre terms" of the meetings, they were said to have spent more than 100 hours together as the encounters included the complainant wearing a blindfold when they watched television together and on one occasion even when sunbathing.
Judge Dutton said: "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."
He said he was "quite sure" that the psychological impact upon the complainant was "severe" and would be "long-lasting".
In a victim impact statement, the complainant said the defendant had "poisoned my life for four years" and that she was "still trapped in this invisible prison that Gayle has been making."
The judge pointed to Newland's various disorders identifed in a psychiatric report, including social anxiety disorder, a personality disorder, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
It was said by her counsel, Nigel Power QC, that these were closely linked with her issues of sexuality, with them exacerbating each other.
A history of low self-esteem and "blurred gender lines" added to a "very troubling picture", said the judge.
But he said he did not agree with Mr Power's submission that he could depart from sentencing guidelines in such an exceptional case and not impose an immediate custodial term.
Newland, of Hooton Road, is also subject to a sexual harm prevention order with among the terms being she is not allowed to contact anyone online using a fake identity.