Former University of Chester student Gayle Newland has been jailed for the second time for tricking her friend into wearing a blindfold and sexually assaulting her using a prosthetic penis.
Th 27-year-old, of Hooton Road in Willaston, was deeply distressed for the duration of her sentencing hearing at Manchester Crown Court, crouched down in the dock hidden from view.
Our sister paper The Liverpool Echo reports that Newland's hysterical cries once again rang out from the dock as she was led to the cells by prison officers.
In a case which made headlines around the world, she created the 'disturbingly complex' online persona of a man named Kye Fortune to seduce the woman before using bandages, a woolly hat and a swimsuit to disguise her body.
In an extraordinary two-year deception Newland befriended the woman as her true self and encouraged her to continue the bizarre relationship with ‘Kye’ whenever she had doubts.
The victim claimed that she had no idea her close friend Gayle and her 'fiancé' Kye were the same person or that the strap-on prosthetic sex toy was not a real penis throughout around 10 sexual encounters.
Newland broke down in the dock as she was convicted of three counts of sexual assault by penetration after a re-trial at Manchester Crown Court on June 29.
She had already been jailed for eight years in 2015, but had her conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal which ruled the original trial judge was 'not fair or balanced' when he summed up the evidence to the jury.
Former creative writing student Newland openly admitted creating the Kye profile when she was 15 to speak to girls online, using hundreds of photos of an unwitting American man.
Simon Medland, QC, prosecuting, told the jury for the first 12 months “Kye” fobbed off a face-to-face meeting with Newland’s eventual victim by claiming embarrassed about “his” frail appearance due to treatment for a brain tumour.
The victim told police she fell in love with Kye, who eventually agreed to meet on the condition she would wear a blindfold at all times and have her hands tied behind her back during sex.
Newland had wrapped her body in bandages and wore a swimsuit, claiming it was a special circulation suit related to Kye’s cancer treatment.
The court heard extraordinary claims the victim would spent hours unable to see and even allowed herself to be driven around by Kye while wearing a blindfold and scarf over her eyes with sunglasses over the top.
The ECHO can now report that Newland also admitted fraud after scamming an online marketing company that she worked for out of £9,000, offences committed while she was on bail for her sexual crimes.
That case also centred on the creation of fake people, with Newland making up to 10 online accounts pretending to be different bloggers, which her company would pay to advertise products.
Mr Medland outlined the impact of the offence on the victim.
Reading from a victim personal statement, he said: “Although I to an extent understand Gayle’s issues, she had shown no remorse... she has created an invisible prison for the joyful persona I once had.
“I only hope that one day I can move on fully, and not do the time with her.”
She described “going off the rails” following the discovery of the deception.
Nigel Power, QC, defending, said his client had been diagnosed with a raft of mental disorders, including social anxiety disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, dyspraxia, Asperger’s syndrome and gender dysphoria.
He urged the Recorder of Manchester, David Stockdale, QC, to suspend any prison sentence.
He said: “In our conclusion we make these points, with a view to urging you to give anxious consideration to a suspended sentence
“Firstly the unusual circumstances of the case, secondly the fact that the online profile was not created with a view to criminality, thirdly the psychiatric background...fourthly and significantly the improvement the defendant has made since her diagnosis.
“Fifthly and unusually in this case the fact that the defendant has served a significant period of custody.”
But Judge Stockdale told Newland: “She (the victim) did not consent to these invasive acts of penetration because her willing compliance with your abusive behaviour was obtained by a deceit. 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 to this case might find the facts difficult to comprehend.
“But in this case the truth, the whole truth, is as surprising as it is profoundly disturbing. Kye Fortune did not exist, he was a complete fiction, an alter ego created by you online; the photos were of a real man used by you without that man’s permission.”
“It was only when you control of her was absolute that you put your deceit to the ultimate test.”
“She wanted to believed that Kye had a battery of health problems including injuries from a car accident, a tumour in his head... loss of muscle tone, all of these ailments and treatments requiring Kye to wear a covering over his head and his torso all of those ailments and treatments justifying his wish not to be seen... she believed this because she wanted to believe it.”
Newland began to crouch down halfway through the sentencing, so she could not be seen by the court room, but the judge continued, adding that there was evidence that at least three other women were taken in by Newland’s Kye Fortune characater.
The judge said the offences demonstrate: “An extraordinary degree of cunning and a chilling desire on your part to manipulate and control the lives of others... It is difficult to conceive of a deceit so degrading or a deceit so damaging to the victim on its discovery.
“It happens you have shown no remorse, you have maintained your denial of fault and you have accordingly lost credit for admission of wrongdoing.”
He sentenced her to six years in prison for the three counts of sexual assault by penetration and an additional six months to be served consecutively for the fraud charges.
The judge said the sentence was lower than the eight years she received in 2015 because new evidence about her psychological issues had since been put before the court.