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Female cafe boss who tricked woman into having sex with her is jailed

How to cite and reference in MHRA style (with footnotes)A woman who duped another female into a two-year sexual relationship by pretending to be a man was jailed today for more than ten years.

Blade Silvano, 41, made a fake dating profile on Plenty of Fish in 2016 and carried out a ‘careful deception’ to convince her victim she was a man.

She concealed her lower body with a large T-shirt, had sex using a strap-on sex device, and sent pictures of herself appearing to wet shave. The couple were only intimate in the dark.

Silvano – who used a fake surname and claimed to be an Army officer – and her unsuspecting victim only met in a person a few times but messaged and ‘sexted’ each other every day for nearly two years. They had even started planning a wedding.

The victim, who lives in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, but can’t be identified for legal reasons, only discovered her lover’s true sex by chance on Facebook.

Blade Silvano, 41, has been jailed after duping another female into a two-year sexual relationship by pretending to be a man

Jailing Silvano for ten years and six months yesterday, Judge Philip Grey said: ‘You managed your appearance carefully to look like a man.

‘You deliberately set out to deceive her (and) did so in the most reprehensible way.

‘She was convinced she was having sex with a man. You achieved this with a series of careful deceptions. Her consent is null and void.’

The defendant, of Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire, was found guilty of two counts of assault by penetration following a trial that ended in May.

During the hearing at Cambridge Crown Court, the jury heard how the couple first met up in December 2016 and kissed before going on to have ‘intercourse’.

Giving evidence, the victim, who referred to Silvano as a ‘he’ throughout her evidence, said she thought she was having sex with a man called Blade Mendez – and had never consented to intimacy with a female.

Silvano’s victim said afterwards she was ‘happy’ with the sentence but added she thought it was ‘doubtful’ she had learned her lesson. 

She added: ‘When we had sex, Blade would usually blindfold me and I was never allowed to look at the penetration occurring…

‘He was using sex toys on me; it was not allowed the other way round. He told me he was a man and it was on that basis I agreed to have sex with him.’

Silvano, seen posing as a man, has been sentenced to 10 years and six months imprisonment and placed her on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely at Cambridge Crown Court

Silvano denied ever meeting the woman and said they had an ‘online relationship’ only that was all about ‘roleplay’ and ‘fantasy’. 

She said the thousands of messages between them were all part of the fantasy, as was the planned wedding, which had seen a registrar booked and Silvano going wedding dress shopping with her sister.

Giving evidence, Silvano claimed she was ‘open’ about her gender from the beginning and, although medically a ‘woman’ on her birth certificate, didn’t define herself this way.

She told the jury she was ‘pansexual’ would often use the title ‘Doctor’ which she claimed she was entitled to do after completing an online PHD in ancient Greek history holocaust research paper topics.

But her claim to have done a ‘200-word dissertation’ on the subject was ridiculed in court.

Investigations by the Mail revealed the tall tales began years earlier, when Silvano was running a café in a former Victorian town hall in Welshpool, Powys, where fellow traders knew her as a man.

An article in the Market Times described how ‘he’ claimed to have been an orthopaedic surgeon for the RAF, ‘a career curtailed by the combination of a road accident in which he lost a foot after a joy rider collided with his motorbike, and a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis’.

Silvano denied ever meeting the woman and said they had an ‘online relationship’ only that was all about ‘roleplay’ and ‘fantasy’

Referring to her using male pronouns, a former colleague said previously: ‘He has betrayed our trust and friendship. The lies are hurtful and distressing because we treated him as a friend.’

Silvano also said she had achieved a national diploma in applied science and a BTEC in animal behaviour at Liverpool University. Neither institution has a record of a student by any of the names she went by.

The Royal Military Police also looked into her for the prosecution and told the trial she had not served in the forces.

Silvano was also accused of inventing a cancer battle. During the trial she said she had been tested for the disease but accepted she had never been diagnosed with it.

She claimed the breakdown in contact came when the victim discovered she was already in another serious relationship through Facebook in 2018 and wanted to report her to the police as an act of ‘revenge.’

Judge Grey added the case was not one of gender dysphoria but of using ‘deceit and lies’ to achieve sexual gratification.

Describing Silvano’s actions as ‘calculated’, he said: ‘You continued to string her along and that was unspeakably cruel. Your lying was constant.’

Detective Constable Leeza Phillips, who led the police investigation, said it was ‘unlike any case’ she’d seen before.

She added: Silvano carried out the ultimate deception and has caused extreme distress to her victim.

‘Without the full facts, the victim was not able to give her consent to a sexual relationship and this whole situation has left her feeling violated and traumatised.

‘I hope the victim and her family can now find some closure from this traumatic period.’

Silvano was placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

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