In the most bizarre of incidents, a girl disguised herself as a boy to trick two females into having sex with her. Scheming Gemma Barker fooled two young girls into thinking she was a boy so she could grope the pair after duping them on the internet into meeting her.
Barker wore baggy clothes to hide her figure and hoodies and baseball caps to shield her face as she embarked on a seven-month relationship with the unsuspecting girlfriends who were 15 and 16 at the time, while she was 19.
She walked and talked like a boy and even fooled police who arrested her over the romps. Her sordid secret was only exposed when she undressed in a cell. Barker's shocking deception was revealed in court after she admitted sexual assault and fraud.
"Having befriended the victims she disguised herself as various 16-year-old boys for the sole purpose of having sexual relationships with them," the Mirror quoted Prosecutor Ruby Selva as saying. Judge Peter Moss branded Barker, now 20, "mean and manipulative" and warned she could face jail.
He said he could not be certain whether the cruel scam made her "bad and dangerous to know or mad and dangerous to know". Barker created bogus characters like Aaron Lampard, Connor McCormack and Luke Jones on Facebook to lure her victims after they had told her about their "ideal" boyfriends.
After winning their confidence, she disguised herself as boys to meet them for kissing, cuddling and petting sessions at their homes. The girls and their families knew Barker but did not suspect anything. "Neither girl had any idea it was Miss Barker, their friend.
"If either of them had known of the deceit, that the boy they were having a relationship with was Miss Barker, they would not have consented to the acts," Selva said. Defendant Chetna Patel said Barker suffered from an autistic spectrum disorder and was a "lonely character" who found it difficult to keep friends.
Analysis of her computers revealed four years ago she posed as three teenage boys online to approach girls aged 13 to 14, but they never met in person. Judge Moss said the case involved "fairly lengthy and convoluted deception of everybody around her".
"What concerns me is, however unusual it is, it has got a very mean, manipulative streak to it," he said. Barker was freed on bail and will be sentenced on March 2. "I'm not indicating any sentence by releasing you," the judge told her. She was ordered to sign the sexual offenders' register. She had faced 11 sex assault charges but prosecutors accepted her guilty pleas on two of them.