Wirral woman who used fake penis to dupe friend into sex is jailed after retrial

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A Wirral woman who pretended to be a man to dupe her female friend into sex has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison following a retrial.

Gayle Newland, 27, was convicted in September 2015 and sentenced to eight years, only to be freed on appeal last autumn.

A jury found her guilty of three counts of sexual assault by penetration at a retrial at Manchester crown court last month.

She sobbed and wailed in the dock as the sentence was passed on Thursday, stamping her feet and crying “no”. Her mother called out: “We love you, Gayle,” as Newland was led down into the cells.

Newland, a creative writing graduate described in court as “an imaginative and persuasive liar”, adopted a male online persona called Kye Fortune to seduce a fellow student at the University of Chester in 2011.

She persuaded the student to wear a blindfold whenever they met, and wore a strap-on prosthetic penis in order to dupe the woman into having penetrative sex.

The jury heard that the complainant not only wore the blindfold during sex but also for at least 100 hours when the pair were just hanging out – going for drives, sunbathing and even “watching” films together.

The student insisted she had no idea that she was actually having sex with Newland rather than “Kye” – despite the pair sharing the same birthday, likes and dislikes and apparently being on the same university course – and would not have consented had she known.

Since her first trial she had sought professional help to deal with “significant and long-term difficulties” with both her sexuality and her sex, he told the court.

A psychiatrist had since diagnosed her with gender dysphoria, a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.

She had also been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, as well as eating disorders, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression.

Sentencing Newland, Judge David Stockdale QC said he accepted she suffered from “significant psychiatric and psychological disorders” which mitigated her crimes. He said the chance of her reoffending was “very low”, but that her mental health problems “did not give you licence to fabricate and mislead as you did”.

The judge told Newland: “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.”

DC Gareth Yates from Cheshire police said: “The investigation was highly unusual and complex, garnering a lot of interest due to the extraordinary circumstances, but it is important to remember that there is a victim at the heart of all of this. It is unfortunate the victim had to go through another trial, but today’s result again reinforces the gravity of this crime.

“This was a highly elaborate deception where Newland abused the trust that the victim had in her. She has been extremely upset by what happened and there is no doubt that there will be a lasting psychological impact on her. The victim bravely took to the stand again for a second time and I would like to thank her for her continued cooperation throughout the investigation.”

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