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Accused in prosthetic penis assault case 'used swimsuit to hide breasts', court told

“I never thought love would happen to me, I never thought I could be with a girl, this was a form of desperation as I said. She was my best friend, I wanted to have a future with her.”

Image: Picture by Andy Kelvin

Updated 4.09pm

THE TRIAL OF Gayle Newland, 25, for the sexual assault of her female friend is due to come to a conclusion in Chester, England today.

Newland, of Hooton Road in Heston, is accused of adopting the male persona of Kye Fortune, tricking her friend into wearing a blindfold, and sexually assaulting her with a prosthetic penis.

However, she denies five charges of sexual assault, claiming her accuser always knew she was having sex with a woman.

Here is what has happened so far this morning in court:

Defendant spoke to other woman as Kye Fortune

Matthew Corbett-Jones, prosecuting, finished cross examining Gayle Newland. Yesterday, his questioning had to be stopped early as the witness suffered a panic attack.

Mr Corbett-Jones asked about evidence from the complainant in which Newland performed oral sex on the final time they were together on 30 June.

Newland says although this occurred once, it was not on that occasion.

Mr Corbett-Jones asked about a statement from a woman named Corneila Chin, who also claimed she was seduced online by the persona of Kye Fortune, although they never met in person.

He read a message, sent from the Kye phone to Miss Chin on 19 June 2013:

I’m depressed right now, don’t want to talk to anyone.

Mr Corbett-Jones: “She believed that Kye was a man didn’t she?”

Newland agreed.

He asked why she messaged Miss Chin as Kye.

Ms Newland: “For the same reason it started in the very beginning, again to speak to a girl, I can’t give any other reason.”

There are other messages in which Kye tells Miss Chin he doesn’t want to talk.

“I wasn’t really pursuing the whole Kye thing, I had (the complainant) I didn’t want to speak to her,” she claims.

Catfish

Mr Corbett-Jones asked about another message from Newland, which said: “My catfish knows nothing about me.”

Catfish is a slang term for someone pretending to be another person in online communication.

She said the message referred to another person.

Ms Newland: “It’s not a term you would find in the English dictionary, people use it many different ways.”

If I was trying to hide my identity why would I even be talking about catfish? That would be the last thing I would talk about.

She said she doesn’t remember what her understanding  of the term was two years ago, but she now understands the term catfish to mean someone hiding their identity online.

Mr Corbett-Jones: “Which it what you did with the complainant?”

Newland: “I never did it with her, she knew every single time what was going on.”

Mr Corbett-Jones asked about a comment to a police officer after Newland jumped into a canal, “I have done something I shouldn’t have done.”

He asked: “Was it a reference to you betraying her over two years?”

Ms Newland: “No It was not a reference to that.”

Email from Kye Fortune

Mr Corbett-Jones moved onto an email titled, “Explanation as best I can at this moment”, sent from Kye Fortune to the complainant on 3 July.

It included comment such as: “I hope you received my text the other day. This all starting when I was 13, a kid, since then it became the norm, finally I felt I had a chance to channel the real me, because I could not [be] in my own skin.”

“I know Kye is who I am, its my real personality.”

“I have to make up lies, to uncover the initial lies.”

He asked her why she sent this email.

Ms Newland: “All you can concentrate on is not being anxious, you don’t want to be anxious any more.

“The second thing was desperation. I was in love with her, this was my true love, I would have done anything for her to stay in my life I would have said anything. If she said I want to run over you with a car, I would have let her run me over with a car.

I never thought love would happen to me, I never thought I could be with a girl, this was a form of desperation as I said. She was my best friend, I wanted to have a future with her.

She became upset again before Judge Dutton intervened and asked her to concentrate on answering the question.

Ms Newland: “If she was telling the truth there surely there would be a reference in here to her wearing a blindfold. I don’t know how I can explain it any other way, I am so drained by this process.

“Surely I would say sorry I made you wear a blindfold but I haven’t and I never lie.”

Lies and evidence

Mr Corbett-Jones: “I have been criticised for asking you questions about this email and text messages, but there are reasons for that.

This email is before the jury as evidence, and one interpretation of this email could be quite damaging to you. I feel it is only fair to give you the opportunity to tell the members of the jury about it.

“I am suggesting that you began that email in the way you did because you had never told her before.”

Ms Newland: “She has always known that, she has always known that I used it since I was 13.”

Mr Corbett-Jones asked her what the “lies” she referred to in the email were.

Ms Newland: “I am apologising for something I never did, but I am apologising for the reasons I have said countless times.”

Mr Corbett-Jones: “What had you lied about in your case?”

Ms Newland: “I never lied about anything, I never lied to her.”

Mr Corbett-Jones: “I am suggesting that this was an admission to her that you had lied about who you were.”

Ms Newland: “If it was a genuine admission, I would have mentioned the blindfold, the scarf, and all the other absurd things she said.”

She said at the time she wrote this message, she did not know “what state of mind” the defendant was in.

She believed things had happened that had not, at uni, at work, she talked about them like they actually happened. Every single day something went wrong for her, I believed every single thing she said and now I know none of that was true.

“There would be so much reference to that in the email. Why would I in my right mind think that she would come up with this?”

Mr Corbett-Jones asked if she was a virgin before she met the complainant. She said she was.

She told the court she was raped in her third year at university but never reported it to police.

Mr Corbett-Jones then asked if this really happened. She then became very upset.

“Why would I lie about being raped? I am not (the complainant),” she added, as cross examination concluded.

Case for the defence

Mr Power read some agreed evidence for the defence before the jury was dismissed for legal argument.

It is agreed that an identical prosthetic penis to the one used by Newland was purchased by the defence team.

Mr Power read a statement from a computer analyst who examined mobile phones relevant to the case.

He explained how Whatsapp messages, pictures and text messages were recovered from the phones.

A laptop belonging to the complainant was examined but not until February 2015.

He said the laptop was used frequently after the events relevant to the trial.

The continued use of the computer would have reduced the ability of an analyst to recover data “as a tide washing away footprints in the sand”.

Mr Power read some Google search extracts recovered from the laptop. These include: “Kye Fortune”.

It was possible to recover partial Facebook messages. They are only a summary preview of the first 200 characters (letters etc) of the message.

That concluded the case for the defence and all the evidence has now been heard. The prosecution and defence teams will next address the jury with their closing speeches.

Closing Speeches

Mr Corbett-Jones delivered his closing speech to the jury this afternoon.

“Each one of us in this courtroom is different to each other,” he said.

“We all have different backgrounds, different experiences of life. We may have different jobs, different experiences of family life. There may be cultural differences and we may have different sexualities.

But each one of us has something in common, we all have the absolute right and freedom to choose when and in what circumstances we agree to have sexual intercourse with another person. It is a fundamental right in a civilised society and a right protected by law.

He suggested that while sexual assault may not result in physical injury, the psychological impact may be “profound”.

He says the issue of consent is “central” to this case, and is “inextricably linked” to the issue of deception.

“The issue really comes down to I submit, whether or not the complainant is telling the truth about her belief that Kye was real and he was the one having intercourse with her.

“She was cross examined for a number of hours and was told her belief was preposterous.

We are now told, further than that, she knew from the outset, and she chose to contact Kye. We now have to look at the evidence and decide if that is true.

The prosecution say looking at the evidence overall it is clear she believed she was communicating with a real man.

“It’s suggested there were so many ways – the voice, the absence of body hair, they shared the same birthday, she must have seen, how could she remain blindfolded?

But I repeat, you’re going to have to use your collected wisdom and make a judgement, is it incredible, or are there some factors at play?

He suggested that the complainant was fundamentally a “vulnerable and naive girl”.

“Experience of life shows that these people do exist, there are people who are naive and trusting and vulnerable, and all these factors are things the defendant accepts.”

He noted that the complainant had an unhappy background and it was agreed that they had been speaking for two years before they met.

“In the context of the defendant, she wanted this, she wanted this relationship.”

Mr Corbett-Jones attacked the suggestion that the complainant would have realised  Newland and Kye were “never in the same room” despite being friends.

“These were not situations where you would expect Gayle to be there.”

Devastated

Mr Corbett-Jones then suggested the fact that Newland used a separate phone to communicate as Kye means she was doing more than engaging in “role play”.

“Why if these were effectively the same person, and she knew that, were there two phones?” he says.

He also highlighted the fact that Newland was wearing a swimming costume, and reminds the jury that the complainant claimed she was told it was a “circulation suit.”

It was a clear indicator that the complainant was telling the truth and the defendant was using it to disguise her appearance as a male, and perhaps to hide her breasts. Perhaps she had used it to conceal part of the prosthetic penis.

He suggested the alleged victim’s willingness to accept these facts can be explained.

“What cannot be explained, is if this was not true, why she made this complaint? Why would she put herself through the excruciating embarrassment of these proceedings, putting her personal life under scrutiny?

“The defendant says she was struggling with her sexuality, but why would she go through this? Why would she not walk away?

“She was devastated by this, she felt like she had to make a complaint.”

He claimed that making a complaint is “the opposite” of what she would do if she was really struggling with her sexuality.

Holiday?

Mr Corbett-Jones addressed the jury about the fact the complainant went on holiday to Ibiza in 2013, not long after the complaint.

This was revealed after the defence played a video, taken from her Instagram account, in which she was seen enjoyed herself in Ibiza. The video was titled “pi**** as a goat”.

He said she “had a right” to rebuild her life after this incident.

He refered to Google searches in which she said she was looking for a “mixed race asian guy [sic]” (The persona of Kye was a mixed race Filipino and white man).”

He suggested this means she was really interested in a relationship with a man.

Mr Corbett-Jones suggested that text messages read to the jury demonstrate that the complainant really believed Kye Fortune existed.

“It is a nonsense to suggest that she would have been texting Kye to asks for a someone’s telephone number if that was not a belief she had in a real person.

“It is a nonsense that she would have been texting Newland to say she was going to lend money off Kye the following week.”

Mr Corbett-Jones described a “genuine row” between the complainant and Newland, responding as Kye Fortune.

He said the row ended when Newland claimed Kye was ill, and had gone into intensive care.

Mr Corbett-Jones: “What possible effect would saying that have on her if he did not believe Kye was real?”

Mr Corbett-Jones: “The existence of those phones and all those messages are conclusive proof, I submit, that she believed Kye existed.”

Explanation makes “absolutely no sense”

Judge Roger Dutton tells the court he will sum the case up on Monday, meaning the jury will likely sent to consider a verdict on Monday afternoon.

Mr Corbett-Jones resumes his closing speech.

“The Crown say this defendant has lied to you. She tells you that she knew from the word go that the complainant was Kye, she says no scarf or blindfold was ever worn and no bandages were ever applied to her chest,” he says.

He refers back to the statement she gave to police, in which Newland did not outline the defence she later relied on in court.

Although in this statement she said the sex was consensual, she did not explicitly deny that blindfolds were used, or that she used bandages to bind her chest.

She referred to a “light scarf” being worn when she first met the complainant as Kye.

Mr Corbett-Jones says this was a clear reference to the scarf being worn around her face.

Newland earlier claimed this was a reference to the scarf being worn around her accuser’s neck.

Mr Corbett-Jones suggests this “makes absolutely no sense.”

He describes Newland’s explanation of why she wore a swimsuit when she met the complainant as “absolute nonsense.”

He also refers to Newland’s claim in court that she never wore bandages with the complainant.

However in the statement Newland said her accuser “applied bandages” to her chest on one occasion.

Mr Corbett-Jones: “It (the statement) is at the very best littered with things she no longer relies upon, and I suggest to you it shows she has been untruthful.”

*It turned from a seed to a tree, and I was stuck.”

Mr Corbett-Jones  is talking about text messages from the complainant to the defendant after the break down of their relationship

The woman accuses Newland of being “evil” and “sick” and says “you should be locked up.”

He asks: “For what conceivable reason would she act in this way?”

He points to messages from Newland back to the complainant, in which she says she “has lied.”

Mr Corbett-Jones  reads one message: “I know its weird and impossible to get your head around, but its still me, I still care.”

He says: “This is only consistent with the account the complainant gave, that she had been deceived.”

He refers back to the email read earlier today, in which Newland says: “I had to make up lies to cover the initial lies. I never meant it to go this far, it turned from a seed to a tree and I was stuck.”

Defendant cruelly and cynically manipulated complainant

Mr Corbett-Jones: “I ask you again ladies and gentleman, to consider what possible motive could there be for her to make this complaint.”

He refers to Newland’s theory that her accuser was uncomfortable with her sexuality.

He says “If that’s true, why on earth would she go to the police to make a complaint. This defendant identified her as a naive and vulnerable woman”

He says Newland “cruelly and cynically manipulated her and isolated her over months and months.”

He said Newland was able to “control literally her every thought.”

Mr Corbett-Jones says: “Is it really the case where this is a society these days where there is real difficulty being gay?”

He says: “The only explanation for those messages about the illness, the only thing that makes sense is that she was deceived.”

That concludes his speech.

Prosecution case “incredible, implausible, impossible”

Nigel Power QC delivers closing speech.

Mr Power: “This case is probably not what you expected when you started jury service this week. But I ask you to not be fazed and to hold your nerve, and consider the evidence carefully”

He suggests the prosecution case is “literally incredible, it’s impossible to believe.”

Mr Power says the case boils down to two “key propositions” when “all the emotion” is stripped away,

“The prosecution case cannot succeed unless they make all 12 of you sure of these two propositions.

“The first is that a university educated, intelligent, bright young woman spent hundreds of hours on the phone to her friend and more than 100 hours in her company and never suspected it was her.

“Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours, she never once thought, oh no, he sounds a bit like Gayle. That’s the first thing you would have to be sure of.

“The second thing is that a sexually experienced woman had sexual intercourse at least 10 times and that not one of those times she suspected it was a prosthetic penis, and not a real penis.”

He describes these propositions as “incredible, implausible, impossible.”

“Sometimes, the devil is in the detail.”

Mr Power suggests: “The similarities between Kye and Newland are so dramatic, that anyone would twig.”

He describes Kye Fortune as the complainant’s “online fiancée” and suggests his reluctance to meet would have been a warning sign to the complainant.

He says:” Why would he not meet? There is only one sensible answer to that, the fiancée is illusory, and not real.”

Mr Power refers to the evidence of Cornelia Chin, who was seduced online by Kye Fortune.

In a statement she said she worked out the Kye was in fact Newland by phoning a number and hearing what she thought was Kye’s voice identifying itself as Newland.

Mr Power suggests that was “all it took” for Miss Chin to work out the truth, hearing the defendant speaking in her normal voice.

Mr Power suggests the complainant provided “precious little detail” about the actual sexual encounters.

He says the complainant told police Kye would have to “remove” the bandages to have sex, despite the prosecution claiming she used these to cover her breasts.

He reminds the jury that the complainant spent “a lot of time cuddling” and her arms would have passed over the area where Newland’s breasts are.

Mr Power reminds the jury that the complainant described “spooning”.

He suggests that a prosthetic penis would have had to be in the bed as this was going on.

Mr Power suggests that if, as the prosecution suggest, part of the prosthetic penis could be removed, a “sharp plastic point” would be in its place.

He says surely the complainant would have been even more likely to notice this.

Mr Power: “Sometimes, the devil is in the detail.”

Date prosthetic penis bought vital to case

Mr Power says the date the parties first had penetrative sex is a “really important” issue in the case.

He says the prosthetic penis was delivered on April 12.

However counts 1, 2 and 3 of the indictment say the complainant was sexually assaulted in February.

Mr Power says the prosecution “never dared” address this point earlier.

Mr Power: “If that date was right, there was no prosthetic penis on the first three times they had sex in the hotels.

” If that is true it has a very significant impact on the case. That means count 1, 2 and 3 are dead in the water, scrub them out.”

“Ridiculous”

Mr Power says there are “many, many reasons” why the complainant “must have known” who she was with.

He suggests the voice.

He suggests that she lied about where they first met. In her statement she said the first meeting with Kye was in the hotel, however in court she admitted it was at her flat.

She claimed Kye said he had been driven there by Gayle Newland, who was parked outside. However the complainant said Newland never came in.

The complainant said she was blindfolded and kissed and cuddled Kye on this occasion, but says she never realised it was Newland.

Mr Power reminds the jury of her claims that she sat blindfolded on the bed while the pair watched television, and that they travelled in a car with her also masked and blindfolded.

“Would that not have attracted suspicion? Pulling up at a traffic light with someone blindfolded? It isn’t the most ridiculous thing she told you, but it isn’t far off,” he says.

“Could it be possible, is it remotely plausible that she didn’t know it was Newland she was spending time with?”

“Of course she knew”

Mr Power says there are “some common sense” facts regarding the differences between a prosthetic penis and a real penis.

He says: “Gut instinct, and human experience, and common sense, and careful analysis, all lead to the same conclusion; of course she knew.

“And at the risk of repeating ourself, this was someone who was sexually experienced. Of course she knew.”

Mr Power refers to claims that if the complainant “had not ripped the mask off it would still be going on now.”

He says she admitted this was a “dramatic claim” when questioned in court.

Mr Power reminds the jury that Newland delayed handing her computer to police, and despite being inactive for some time, it was accessed shortly before she gave it over.

Complainant “protests too much”

Mr Power addresses the complainant’s claim that she was not a lesbian.

He says “maybe she protested too much.”

Mr Power says perhaps the complainant had not “found the courage” to admit her true sexuality.

He suggests that she spent hours and hours and hours with a lesbian before June 30, 2013.

Mr Power also suggests that there are other reasons for her making a complaint.

He refers to the victim personal statement, given at the end of January this year. She said the impact of the alleged offence had made her a “shell of her former self” and caused social situations to be difficult.

However he reminds the jury how she went on holiday to Ibiza three weeks after she allegedly discovered the truth.

Mr Power also read google searches including “dating sites no fees” and “hook up with people in my area.”

He reminds the jury of a video, taken from her Instagram account, which was recorded in Ibiza. The video was titled “p***** as a goat.

Mr Power reminds the jury: “She lied about going on holiday until she knew this video was in our possession.”

“Love story”

Mr Power says his client gave “honest but sometimes emotional evidence.”

He says: “It’s odd that at the heart of this case really is a love story. The complainant loved Kye and Gayle Newland certainly loved the complainant.

“But she loved Kye because he gave her a way to explore something she couldn’t otherwise explore.”

He says the defendant’s distress about losing the complainant was “real.”

Mr Power suggests she would have done anything for her and reminded the jury that Newland claimed she would have let the complainant “run her over with a car if she had asked.”

He says: “In this case, there are not one but two troubled souls. But only one is in the dock, only one is facing conviction for such serious offences, only one who in the prospect of the two year build up to this case had the incredible embarrassment of the press coverage.

“What happened yesterday at the end of her evidence was perhaps the inevitable result of asking the questions that were asked about the break down of her relationship with the complainant.”

He says: “If you believe the account of Gayle Newland, and you find it plausible, then that is the end of the case.”

That concludes Mr Power’s closing speech.

Judge Dutton will sum up the evidence on Monday, after which the jury will retire to decide their verdicts.

As it happened: Accused in prosthetic penis assault case gives evidence

About the author:

Jonathan Humphries

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