A single mother has told of her torment after discovering how her long-time lover tricked her into believing he was a man when in fact she was a woman.
Nicole Lindsay was shocked to learn the ‘boyfriend’ she hoped to marry was a lesbian sex offender called Samantha Brooks.
Police told her that Brooks, who she had always known as Lee, was once jailed for abusing a 14-year-old girl.
The bizarre story of how Nicole, mother of two daughters aged six and two, was fooled emerged when Brooks was arrested.
She was charged with obtaining sex by deception from Nicole and another former friend and two counts of assault.
Nicole said: ‘When the police told me Lee was a she I just couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. I’ve been through hell.
‘The thought of how Lee deceived me and my whole family has given me nightmares and made me feel sick.’
Nicole described her relationship with Brooks who used a modified wooden toilet roll holder in their sexual relationship.
She told the Sunday People she was uncomfortable being naked in front of a partner while Brooks claimed he felt the same way after suffering testicular cancer.
Brooks even conned her into believing her body had been scarred by a previous partner as the reason she wore bandages around the chest – which hid her breasts.
She first made contact when Nicole was 14 in 2001. But they did not meet until 2006 by which time she had a baby girl, aged 18 months, but was not with the father.
They began a long-distance relationship staying weekends at each other’s homes before breaking up in 2007. Later that year, Brooks wrote saying she was in prison for beating up a paedophile.
Nicole admitted: ‘ I didn’t think too badly of him [Samantha]. I can understand the provocation.’
But unknown to her Brooks had been jailed for 18 months at Isleworth Crown Court of sexual offences against a girl of 14 and put on a sex offenders’ register for 10 years.
After her release, Brooks got in touch with Nicole, now a mother of two, and she even proposed marriage and set a date for the wedding in March 2010.
But Nicole’s family grew suspicious of the ‘man’ who had no facial hair or an Adam’s apple.
Nicole told the People: ‘I didn’t believe Lee could be a woman. We had been having sex on and off for years. But I knew he was hiding something.’
She was finally told the shocking truth last September when police arrested Brooks and she was called to a police station.
But her anguish did not end there. Police dropped the case before it came to trial when Nicole’s former friend withdrew her co-operation with prosecutors.
Nicole, from Glasgow, agreed to give up her anonymity to warn unsuspecting girls about Brooks.
When approached, Brooks, from Uxbridge, north west London, declined to discuss her behaviour or her previous conviction and denied she had met Nicole.