A UK woman who posed as a man to trick her female friend into sex will face six and a half years in prison.
Gayle Newland was found guilty—for a second time—in a retrial last month at Manchester crown court, The Guardian reports.
When the judge delivered news of her jail time on Thursday, the 27-year-old was seen dropping to the floor and crying out “No!”.
During her trial, Newland was described in court as an “imaginative and persuasive liar”, who seduced another female student online using the male screen name ‘Kye Fortune’.
According to The BBC, the court heard Newland secretly wore a large strap-on prosthetic penis in order to have penetrative sex with the complainant.
The female complainant told the court she was persuaded by ‘Kye’ to wear a blindfold at all times when they met, including when they had sex, saw movies and went for drives.
The court heard the woman agreed to wear the blindfold (which was made up of a sleeping mask and light scarf) because she was in love. The complainant said ‘Kye’ had asked her to wear it because he was insecure about his physical appearance after undergoing treatment for cancer.
According to The Guardian, Newland told the court that her accuser was always aware she was pretending to be ‘Kye’. She claimed their relationship was consensual and part of role-play as they struggled to come to terms with their sexuality. Gayle's counsel, Nigel Power, QC, argued that the complainant would not have been fooled by the large—and obviously fake— strap-on penis.
But the complainant insisted: "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 told the jury that Newland was a "manipulative, deceitful and very crafty young woman" who "went to such astonishing lengths to control the complainant's life and make her do the things the defendant wanted her to do", The Telegraph reports.
Gayle Newland was convicted of three counts of sexual assault by penetration and also found guilty of defrauding her employer £9,000 ($14798 AUD), news.com.au notes.
Newland was originally found guilty of the sexual assaults in September 2015, and was sentenced to eight years in jail. However, her conviction was overturned in the court of appeal and a retrial was ordered.