Gayle Newland was first convicted of sexual assault in September 2015 but the conviction was quashed last October and she was released from jail pending a retrial.
On Thursday, the 27-year-old woman whom the court heard described as “an imaginative and persuasive liar,” was found guilty again when a Manchester crown court determined that the victim was unaware she was sleeping with Newland because of the great lengths she went to hide her real identity.
Newland, then 25, began a two-year online romance with the victim through her fake Facebook profile, using a photo of an Asian-American man, Kye Fortune, to lure women.
In this guise Newland, a creative writing graduate of Chester University, is alleged to have reached out to her friend and fellow classmate in 2011 posing as Kye Fortune.
The pair later spent about 100 hours together in person and had sex 10 times between February and June 2013 , but the victim was always requested to wear a blindfold during physical intimacy, the entire time, the Guardian reported.
For a year the pair swapped messages and photos online, and talked regularly for hours on the phone, but did not meet. After talking back and forth, the woman decided to meet up with Fortune in February 2013 but was told she had to wear a blindfold whenever they hung out.
Authorities said Newland, posing as her alter ego, came up with excuses as to why it was important for the victim to wear a blindfold, including telling the woman that he had been “badly injured and disfigured” and was recovering from a brain tumor operation.
Fortune also told the woman that he had to wear bandages on his chest because of a heart condition.
The victim the court was told wore the blindfold several times, including when they would sunbathe together, “watch” movies and go for drives. The woman also had to keep her eyes covered during sex, and Newland would wear a pink prosthetic penis to make it seem like the woman was sleeping with a man.
This unusual arrangement went on for some months, until 30 June 2013, when Kye and the victim snatched her blindfold off, while having sex with Fortune and made “a very disturbing discovery indeed”.
To her chagrin it turned out that Fortune was her friend Gayle Newland, wearing a “realistic prosthetic penis with testicles”.
Authorities said after the woman discovered that Fortune was actually Newland, she ran out of the home. The two women were caught on surveillance video fighting outside in the street.
Newland tried committing suicide the night her cover was blown, authorizes said, and texted the woman to apologize for lying.
In her testimony, Newland said she was a lesbian but had struggled with her sexuality. She admitted creating the alter-ego aged 15, using it to befriend other young women.
She suffered from anxiety issues, she said, and using the alias made it easier to forge virtual relationships on social media.
While conceding that she and the complainant had a sexual relationship with her in character, Newland insisted it was transparent and consensual.
Her first encounter with the complainant was not online but at a gay night at a Chester nightclub called Gender Blender,She claimed.
During their initial meeting, she was upfront about her sexuality and the fact she sometimes pretended to be a man called Kye, Newland said in court.
She suggested that the complainant had struggled with her sexuality to an even greater extent, was embarrassed about being in a relationship with a woman, and told her friends she was going out with a man called Kye as a coping mechanism. “When we talked about role-play the only way I can describe is meeting up as Kye was code for doing things that were sexual. At that time I think it was the only way we were comfortable doing things sexual.”
After showing the jury the large, pink prosthetic penis, which she used during their sexual encounters, defense attorney, Nigel Power, told the jury that a sexually experienced woman like the complainant could not have been fooled by such an obviously fake penis.
However, the jury decided decided the complainant had no idea that her lover was masquerading as a male after she told the court she was heterosexual and had no idea that Newland was a lesbian.
Gayle Newland, previously was sentenced in November 2015, to eight years in jail for sexual assault, having been found guilty of three counts of sexual assault at Chester Crown Court in September of that year
She only got to know after discovering Fortune was actually her best friend. She ran out of her own house in shock. Newland followed her and CCTV footage showed them rowing in the street.
The prosecution case was buttressed by the revelation that Gayle Newland attempted suicide that same night, after she was caught out.
She then sent apologetic emails to the complainant, saying: “I had to make up lies to cover up the initial lie.”
The complainant responded with a series of texts, calling Newland “sick” and “evil”.
One read: “Are you for real you should be locked up for what you’ve done to me. You raped my life, my heart and soul. No amount of counselling will make up for this. you are pure evil Gayle. You are sick. I only have one question: why me? You have no explanation, Gayle, other than you are pure evil … If I had not ripped off the mask I would not have known the evil truth.”
The case the jury was told revolved around the “real issue of consent.”
Did the complainant really know she was having sex with her friend, or did she honestly think her sexual partner was a man she had met on the internet?
In coming up with the verdict the jury decided the complainant had no idea that her lover was Gayle Newland and so could not have consented.
After her conviction, Newland is required to register as a sex offender.
Sentencing has been set for July 20.