Sunday 23 October 2016

Woman 'wore mask while watching TV and having sex' to fool female pal into believing she was her 'boyfriend', court hears

Gayle Newland arrives at Chester Crown Court where she denies five counts of sexual assault.
Gayle Newland arrives at Chester Crown Court where she denies five counts of sexual assault.

A blindfolded woman duped into having sex with a male impersonator said they also sunbathed and watched television together with her mask still on, a jury has heard.

The complainant says she thought she had intercourse on a number of occasions with a man called Kye Fortune, who said he was recovering in hospital from a brain tumour and did not want her to see his scars.

But she claims she eventually discovered it was in fact her friend, Gayle Newland, 25, who had persuaded her to wear a blindfold throughout their sexual encounters in which a prosthetic penis was used.

Newland, of Hooton Road, Willaston, is on trial at Chester Crown Court where she denies five counts of sexual assault between February and June 2013.

The court heard the alleged victim received a Facebook friend request in 2011 from a Kye Fortune who purported to be a half-Filipino, half-Latino athletic young male.

They communicated online and "Kye" later told her he had been involved in a car accident and medics had found he had a brain tumour.

He said he was having treatment in hospital and was not well enough to see her but the pair spoke frequently on the phone and became engaged before they finally decided to meet up, it is alleged.

Giving evidence, the complainant, who cannot be named, recalled they met up at hotels in Chester and at her flat but at all times she was made to wear a makeshift blindfold because of Kye's insecurities.

She agreed with Nigel Power QC, representing Newland, that they spent at least 100 hours in each other's company before she said she "ripped off" her blindfold and discovered she had been sleeping with a woman.

Asked how they spent their time together, she said that they would sometimes watch a film on television.

She added: "I would not say watch because I had a mask and scarf on. I heard a film."

Mr Power said: "There was Kye, the love of your life, your fiance, making you sit through a film for over a hour and a half and you could not see?"

She replied: "Throughout the film we were talking, we were kissing, we were cuddling, it felt nice."

Gayle Newland arrives at Chester Crown Court where she denies five counts of sexual assault

The barrister said: "It is just not true, is it, that you watched a film with Kye which you could not see?"

The witness said: "Every time I met up with Kye Fortune I either had the mask on already or he would wait outside the door and I would put it on.

"I was so desperate to be loved. It's pathetic, so desperate for love, so desperate.

"We were just lying there, just cuddling, sometimes we would watch films, sometimes we would just talk. It sounds stupid to say but it was a proper relationship, just normal."

Mr Power said: "I am not going to suggest for a moment that there have not been difficulties in your life before you met Gayle but it is just not normal to spend hours in your flat with your boyfriend watching television when you cannot see what is on the screen. That is not normal by anyone's standards."

The complainant replied: "For us, that was what was normal. In hindsight I wish I had ripped that mask off sooner

"There was nothing wrong with me laying there listening to the heartbeat of the man I loved."

Mr Power said: "You know you were with a woman and you knew it was Gayle but you could not bring yourself to tell the police that was the truth?"

She said: "Since the first time I wrote to this person on Facebook, I thought it was a male.

"The first time I agreed to meet this person and agreed to have sex with them, I thought it was a male

"I told my my friends I was engaged to a guy. I told my work colleagues.

"I was happy, so happy, it was my turn to be happy, it was my turn to be in a relationship."

She told the court that Kye took her on a car ride one day in which he asked her to wear sunglasses on top of her mask and scarf because "he did not want it to look weird or that she had been kidnapped".

She said the car parked up, she was led out and walked into a building, up some steps and then into a garden where they sunbathed together.

The witness told the court she thought the journey was "a breakthrough" because Kye was now willing to be seen in public.

Newland is said to have disguised her appearance by wearing bandages across her chest and a woollen hat.

The complainant told the court about an occasion when she looked out of her window and saw Newland drive off in her car shortly after she said Kye had just left her flat.

She explained: "I took the mask off. I was pretty elated, felt pretty good with myself.

"I was trying to see if I could see Kye but I couldn't."

She then saw the back of the defendant's car negotiate a roundabout, she said.

Mr Power said to the witness: "You knew it was Gayle who had been in the flat, didn't you?"

The complainant replied: "If I knew it was Gayle there was not a chance in hell I would have met that person again, had intercourse with him."

Mr Power said: "You can see how it looks ridiculous?"

She said: "If I could go back and scream at me I would. It does look ridiculous on paper."

Mr Power said: "It sounds ridiculous as you say it."

"Unfortunately so," said the complainant. "I can only put it down to me being so desperate for love."

The barrister said to the witness that bandages were only used once by the defendant and that was at her suggestion "to hide the fact that you were with a woman".

The complainant replied: "Not at all. I am quite a proud person. If I was with a woman I would tell everyone it was my choice."

She told the court she could not say how long the intercourse lasted on each occasion.

Mr Power suggested to her that she must have known that a prosthetic penis was being used.

The witness replied: "If I had realised, there would be no way I would have slept with Gayle again and again. If I had any inkling I was not making love with a man there is no way I would have met her again and let her do it again and again."

Mr Power said to the witness that actually the pair had never had sex in hotels but only in her flat.

She said: "I wholeheartedly disagree with that."

The complainant became tearful in the witness box when she viewed a replica of the prosthetic penis presented in a box to her.

Asked if she recognised it, she said: "I'm not a dildo expert. I can only say what I saw when I took the mask off."

Mr Power said: "Are you really telling the truth?"

The witness said: "I don't believe that anyone in their right mind would make this up. I'm telling you the 110% truth. I thought it was a relationship with a guy. I thought I was having sex with a guy."

The jury was told that Kye's given date of birth was the exact same as the defendant, which the complainant knew.

Giving evidence in her defence, Newland admitted she created the profile of Kye Fortune.

She said it first started when she was aged about 13 and used internet chatrooms.

Newland said: "It was like loads of American kids (there), I got speaking to a few people and spoke as a guy ... as a boy."

Her barrister Mr Power asked: "Why did you do that?"

She replied: "I was 13. I didn't necessarily know why. I was a bit of a tomboy.

"I know now. I think at the time it was a way of speaking to girls."

The jury heard that she went on to create a Facebook profile of Kye when she was aged 15 or 16.

She said she copied photographs of an American male named Carlo from his Myspace page and then used it to contact girls.

Breaking down in tears, she said: "It's hard to explain to most people. I guess being gay ... it's hard to explain, especially my upbringing which was secluded.

"You don't get educated on being gay. How to speak to people. I had never spoken to any gay people.

"You didn't see gay people on television then. It was quite a negative thing. I just learned I could not really be myself. I couldn't speak to girls. Every single person in my school was straight."

She said she had not told her family of her sexuality until recently before her arrest in 2013.

The defendant said she first met the complainant on a night out in Chester in 2011.

She said: "I found her attractive. She seemed bubbly, quite nice."

She said the complainant asked her if she was gay and she replied "yes".

They later bumped into each other on another night out when she said the complainant again touched on her sexuality.

She said: "I guess I was a bit more open about it. I opened up to her quite quickly.

"She told me of her struggles and that no-one knew she was gay and how she could not admit it to herself."

Newland said she told the complainant she had created a Facebook profile in the name of Kye Fortune and used it to contact girls online.

Two days later the complainant added Kye Fortune as a Facebook friend, she told the court.

Earlier, the jury heard a statement from another woman who had contacted Kye Fortune online.

She said she added the "good looking" Kye as a Facebook friend and an online relationship developed.

They went on to communicate by phone and she noticed that Kye's voice was "quite high pitched".

The pair started off as friends but became closer and in time Kye referred to her as his girlfriend, the court heard.

She suggested to him that that they meet up but said he always came up with an excuse not to.

She used Facetime on her phone to speak to him in person but he would never show his face, she said.

Another Facetime conversation involved Kye said to be walking his dog, Gypsy.

The court heard that she discovered she had been in contact with Newland and not Kye when she spotted the dog, Gypsy, by chance on the defendant 's Facebook page.

She phoned Kye's number, asked for Gayle and immediately recognised that Kye and Gayle were one and the same.

The woman stated: "I knew that Gayle Newland had pretended to be Kye Fortune.

"I hung up immediately. I felt stupid."

Newland will continue to give evidence today.

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