Gayle Newland is on trial for allegedly pulling a long, weird, troubling con. A British woman alleges that for two years, beginning in 2011, she was tricked into believing that her best friend Newland was a man named Kye Fortune — and having sex with her with a strap-on dildo.
Fortune, the victim believed, wanted her to wear a blindfold during sex because he was, reported the Guardian, "recovering from a brain tumor" which had led to a car accident, "and did not want her to see his scars."
The victim discovered Fortune was Gayle Newland, according to testimony reported by the Guardian, when instinct finally told her to pull her blindfold off during sex. "I just pulled it off," she said, and "Gayle was just standing there … I just couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it. Straightaway she held her hand down over her face and said ‘it’s not what you think.'"
The Liverpool Echo has been reporting on testimony Newland's trial in an ongoing live-blog. The details are a fascinating look at the deceptions and delusions at play in the conflict between the two women. Newland, reported the Echo, wore swimsuits and "bound her body in bandages in order to maintain a disguise as Kye Fortune." She allegedly wore a strap-on during their encounters.
Courtroom testimony from the victim, as recorded by the Echo's Jonathan Humphries, indicated insistence she believed "Kye Fortune" was a real male. When defense counsel implied she was trying to conceal lesbianism, she said, "Ever since I first messaged this person on Facebook, I thought it was a male." Further testimony revealed Newland and the victim originally met at a bar on "a LGBT themed night" and Newland contacted the victim online as "Fortune" a few days later.
The victim was furious, according to messages sent to Newland after the revelation. “How could you do this to me for two years? You have been a fake, you have manipulated me. Fake life, fake love,” she wrote. “Are you for real? You should be locked up for what you have done. You really are a piece of work. I have just one question, why me?”
The Echo reported Newland's defense is in keeping with the surreal nature of such a strange catfishing scheme. Newland insists "the alleged victim knew she was a woman and that the pair were playing along with a consensual fantasy."
Photos by Dale Schoonover/Wikimedia Commons