Woman 'watched TV blindfolded with male impersonator fiance'

Gayle Newland Image copyright PA
Image caption Gayle Newland is on trial at Chester Crown Court accused of sexual assault after allegedly posing as a man

A blindfolded woman was tricked into having sex with a woman impersonating a man and watched TV with "him" while she still had a mask on, a jury has heard.

Gayle Newland, 25, is accused of winning the complainant's trust online via a fake persona that led to a two-year relationship and engagement.

The alleged victim told Chester Crown Court she spent 100 hours with her "fiance" before knowing it was a woman.

Ms Newland, of Willaston, Cheshire, denies five counts of sexual assault.

Ms Newland denies the allegations, which relate to the period of February to June 2013 and include using a prosthetic penis during sex.

She admits creating the fake identity of "Kye Fortune" but said she had told the alleged victim about it the first time they met. The other woman denied having any idea her "fiance" was not a man.

The court heard the alleged victim, who cannot be identified, received a Facebook friend request in 2011 from a man who claimed to be "Kye Fortune". They struck up a relationship and "he" asked her to cover her eyes when they met so she would not see scars he had received in a car accident.

Image copyright Geograph
Image caption The trial at Chester Crown Court has entered its third day

She said they became engaged before meeting in person and then met at hotels in Chester, but she covered her eyes because of Mr Fortune's insecurities.

The court heard Mr Fortune was actually Ms Newland, who had disguised her appearance by wearing bandages across her chest and a woollen hat.

After spending 100 hours in each other's company, the woman "ripped off" her blindfold and discovered Mr Fortune was female, jurors heard.

Ms Newland told the court she could not be herself when she realised she was gay and had not told her family about her sexuality until just before her arrest.

She said she first created the Facebook profile of Kye Fortune aged 15 or 16. She said she first met the complainant in a club in 2011, told her she was gay and explained how she used the profile to contact girls. The court was told the woman became Facebook friends with Mr Fortune two days later.

But the woman denied ever knowing "Kye Fortune" was actually Ms Newland.

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

'Desperate for love'

Nigel Power QC, representing Ms Newland, said to the other woman: "You knew 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 replied: "Since the first time I wrote to this person on Facebook, I thought it was a male."

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 not normal to spend hours in your flat with your boyfriend watching television when you cannot see what it is on the screen."

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

Under cross-examination, she said: "Every time I met up with Kye 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," she added.

Mr Power suggested to her she must have known a prosthetic penis was being used when the pair had sex.

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."

The trial continues.

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