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17th May 2023

Woman who had a two-year sexual relationship with a ‘man’ she met online later discovered they were female, a court heard


She only discovered her lover’s true identity through Facebook

A female victim was duped into having sex with a woman who posed as a man during what she thought was a two-year heterosexual relationship, a court has heard.

The victim, who can’t be named for legal reasons, claimed she had “sexual intercourse” twice with the ‘man’ and had even planned to marry ‘him’ before discovering their true gender.

Blade Silvano, 40, has now gone on trial accused of a ‘sophisticated’ scam by tricking the woman into believing she was male.

Prosecutors said the pair met online in late 2016 when Silvano had posted her status on a dating app as a “man looking for a woman” so matched with the victim who was searching the opposite.

They first met in person in December that year and ‘kissed’ before going on to have ‘intercourse’ on two separate occasions, the jury was told.

But Michael Hillman, for the prosecution, said Silvano continued to hide her true identity by using an “unknown item” to penetrate and always kept her t-shirt on and boxers on.

The shocked victim only discovered her ‘lover’s’ true gender through Facebook nearly two years later in September 2018 when her contacts synced on a new Facebook account and came up with a different surname for the defendant.

The pair had even planned to get married, but postponed the wedding due to the defendant’s supposed ‘illness.’

lade Silvano, 40, is accused of sexually assaulting the woman she met online (SWNS)

Silvano, of Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire, is on trial at Cambridge Crown Court and denies two counts of assault by penetration.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, the complainant said Silvano had used the name Blade Mendez and told cops she had never consented to having a sexual relationship with a woman.

During cross examination, the alleged victim was asked if the whole relationship had all been part of a “roleplay” and “fantasy” between them.

She denied this in her testimony, during which she repeatedly referred to Silvano as a “he” and added: “I’ve only known Blade as a man.”

She denied claims put to her by defence barrister Debra White that she had never met the defendant “in the flesh” and told the court their relationship had felt “real.”

The court heard they had first met on Plenty of Fish in 2016 and the alleged victim denied she had identified herself as ‘bisexual’ on her profile or that she had any sexual interest in women at the time.

She also denied she had a “thing for unforms” but said: “Blade had sent me a picture via WhatsApp of himself in an army uniform.”

Ms White asked her: “Did you tell her your sexual fantasy was to have sex with a woman?” and she responded with “no.”

Ms White argued the name Mendez was also “part of a fantasy that was created by the two of you” and was chosen because it was the “surname of a football player.”

Blade Silvano, 40 arriving at Cambridge Crown court where she is accused of pretending to be a man to have sex with a woman (SWNS)

The alleged victim responded: “It felt very real when emotions got involved, I was not acting on my behalf.”

She said the majority of their communication was via WhatsApp messages but they had also exchanged video calls.

She said when they were discussing sexual activity there were also “indications of roleplay, doctors and nurses, that kind of thing”.

But she said she believed Silvano when she told her she was a vet within the British Army and for her that was not a part of her fantasy.

The court heard on one occasion they had been due to go to an “officer’s dinner” together but Silvano pulled out after telling her she had been “injured by a cow.”

Ms White said: “That was all part of the fantasy. She may have said to you she felt like she had been trampled by a cow.”

The alleged victim said: “He did say he been injured by a cow and then sent me a picture of his leg elevated after going to hospital.”

The trial also heard details of their wedding preparations, which the defence again argued was all part of their roleplay.

Ms White added: “During your relationship, you told police there was talk of marriage.

“That was again all part and parcel of the fantasy between the two of you. It wasn’t real, was it? The discussion was a fantasy, an escapism?

“You were making arrangements to marry someone that you say you had only seen on a handful of occasions?”

The alleged victim responded: “It was Blade that asked me to marry him. Based on him asking me we made arrangements.”

The trial heard she had even gone to try on a wedding dress and sent a photo of it to Silvano.

Ms White added: “Isn’t it tradition that the person you are going to marry – they don’t see the dress until the morning of the wedding?”

“The reason you sent that photo was there was never going to be a wedding. The reason was all part and parcel of this roleplay between you and Ms Silvano.

“Did you begin to believe this roleplay was real?”

The witness responded: “It was not a roleplay”

The trial, listed for five days, continues.

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