Accused in 'prosthetic penis' case claims girlfriend knew she was a woman 'from the get-go'
A woman allegedly duped into having sex with a male impersonator while blindfolded knew from the "get-go" that she was sleeping with a female, her alleged attacker told a jury.
The complainant claims she had intercourse on a number of occasions with a man called Kye Fortune before she finally ripped her mask off and in disbelief saw her friend, Gayle Newland, wearing a prosthetic penis.
Newland, 25, told a court today though that the pair were engaging in role play and fantasy as they struggled to accept their sexuality.
She admitted creating a fake Facebook profile in the name of Kye but said she explained this to the defendant who played along with her online persona.
And she told a jury at Chester Crown Court that she never disguised her appearance when they met as "boyfriend and girlfriend" and the complainant never wore a mask during sex.
Newland took the online identity of Kye when she was aged 13 so she could speak to girls, and went on to create the Facebook profile two or three years later when she used photographs of an American man name Carlo from his Myspace page.
The defendant said she first met the complainant on a night out in Chester in 2011 and that the complainant added Kye Fortune as a Facebook friend days later.
Newland said: "She knew from the get-go that Kye was a girl.
"My main reason why I spoke as Kye was for her.
"I knew better than anyone for people not to know ... if she wanted to hide her sexuality I would allow her to do that.
"The second reason was I had spoken as Kye since I was 13.
"I was not confident enough to come out and say I was a lesbian."
The pair went on to communicate largely by phone but Newland denied changing her voice when the complainant would ring "Kye".
During this period, Kye "introduced" Newland to the complainant who met up in person and became friends themselves, the court has heard.
Nigel Power QC, defending Newland, asked her: "Was this some sort of role play or fantasy?"
The defendant replied: "I think it was a combination of both.
"Role play and I think sexual fantasy for herself, I think."
She said that Kye and herself shared the same birth date, both liked RnB music and "chick flicks", they had obsessive compulsive disorders and had a dog named Gypsy.
Newland said: "It was like an alter ego almost but the more comfortable it was the more these two people merged into exactly the same person, if that makes sense."
She said the complainant pushed for the eventual first meeting with "Kye" and it was her accuser's idea to create an elaborate story that Kye was not well enough to see her previously because she did not want to reveal Newland's identity to her family and friends.
Newland told the court that she had never had intimacy with a woman at that point and agreed to go to the complainant's flat as Kye in February 2013.
She said: "I felt it was the only way I could properly ... well I say properly ... be with her, like together.
"I would say girlfriend and girlfriend, but obviously boyfriend and girlfriend."
Mr Power asked: "Were you acting in the role as Kye?"
She replied: "To a degree but not really. It was not constant. It was like in and out."
Newland said the pair kissed and cuddled but did not have penetrative sex as the complainant alleges.
She then left the flat and drove off in her car which was parked outside, she said.
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.
Newland told the court the pair went on to meet in local hotels but again no sexual penetration took place.
She said at that time she was "not really ready" for having sex but the complainant persuaded her to buy a prosthetic penis online.
Newland said: "It sounds silly but she told me to and I did."
She later used it on one of her regular visits to the complainant's flat, she said.
Newland said: "I didn't really know what the hell I was doing if I'm completely honest. She just kind of guided it."
More sexual encounters involving the prosthetic followed but Newland said at no stage was the complainant blindfolded.
She said she had never worn bandages strapped to her chest, as alleged by the complainant, but had worn a swimsuit but only because she visited the gym afterwards.
The defendant said that "a couple of days" before the pair last had sex she had told the complainant she was going to tell her (Newland's) parents that she was gay.
When she went to the flat she noticed the complainant was "a bit off".
"She was just quiet," she said.
"Not her usual self.
"I remember I was a bit worried almost.
"I remember saying 'Are you sure you are OK' and she said she was fine.
"She said 'I love you' and I said 'I love you too' and she acted as if she was fine."
Newland said the complainant "switched" after sex though and "started acting like she was almost shocked, like startled".
She said: "She was saying 'What the hell? What's this?
"She said 'Gayle, what are you doing?'
"I remember feeling very anxious.
"I didn't have a clue what was going on.
"She was just telling me to leave, get out.
"She didn't want anything to do with me."
Sobbing, the defendant recalled she was pushed by the complainant and fell down the stairs.
She said: "She climbed over me and didn't see how I was and just left."
Newland drove off in her car not knowing where she was going, she said.
She told the court: "I was so anxious.
"I thought I would never see her again.
"I didn't know what to do."
Mr Power asked: "Were you in love with her?"
Newland replied: "Yes. More than anything."
The court heard she then tried to take her own life by jumping off a canal bridge because she was "broken-hearted in every sense of the word".
Later she told the complainant that she "did not deserve this" and that she, Newland, would "pay for it", the court heard.
Newland also texted the complainant: "I am sorry I said lies to hide lies but I did not lie about everything. It was me and still is."
Asked to explain that contact, she told the jury: "Again, it sounds ridiculous, I don't really know why I thought it but a part of me did believe that she didn't know.
"She is a strong person and is smart but sometimes she is a bit unbalanced I guess.
"Sometimes she would flip out and say people would say things about her and nothing had been said."
The defendant told prosecutor Matthew Corbett-Jones she did not know why her lover had gone to the police.
Newland said: "I can only make assumptions. She has never told me.
"All I know is that she found it harder and harder in terms of her sexuality. Coping with her sexuality."
The prosecutor asked: "If she is trying to move away from this, distance herself from what you say are lesbian tendencies on her part, why would she go to the police?"
Newland replied: "Like I say I wish I knew. I just knew she found her sexuality impossible to accept.
"I feel the reason she has is because if she can almost pretend she was never with a girl and make up stupid ridiculous lies then that means she is not a lesbian and she is straight."
She added: "I can only say it is down to her sexuality or that she hates me or blames me for being gay.
"I don't know why anyone would have any valid reason to put me through this embarrassment or, mind my language, crap.
"I can't tell you why someone would do that. The only thing I can tell you is I think it may be to do with she found it really hard to deal with her sexuality. Do I think that is a valid reason? No."
Mr Corbett-Jones said: "She says the reason she came forward was to stop you doing it to someone else."
Newland replied: "I don't see how that is a reason."
The prosecutor said: "She believed you were a man."
The defendant said: "Why would she believe that? She is an intelligent young woman, very very intelligent."
Mr Corbett-Jones replied: "Because you told her. You told her repeatedly over a period of two years."
Newland said: "So she wore a blindfold the complete time. Really? Really?
"Is that what people do because I have not heard of that? And don't get me wrong, I'm not the most normal of people but I have never heard of that."
Mr Corbett-Jones said: "She believed she had fallen in love with a man."
Newland said: "No, she did not believe she had fallen in love with a man."
The prosecutor continued: "And then you as Kye Fortune controlled and manipulated her."
"Again, no," said the defendant.
Mr Corbett-Jones said: "The truth is you did not have to meet her. It did not have to happen. It was you who met her. It was you who sexually abused her."
The defendant said: "I never sexually abused that girl. I have never sexually abused anyone."
Newland said she conceded the whole roleplay situation was "absurd".
She said: "It is not the norm by any stretch but this is something she can keep up in her head and make it easier to be with a woman.
"It is all about being comfortable. She was comfortable with that and I followed that which was foolish.
"It was almost like a first step for us to be intimate enough with another female."
She told the jury it was her first intimate encounter with a woman and she believed it was too for the complainant.