Dating site rapist jailed for life

02/03/2016

A man accused of raping women who he met on a dating site has been convicted of five counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and another count of sexual assault.

Jason Lawrance targeted his victims on Match.com, encouraged them to talk to him offline and agreed to meet them.

He raped his first victim in 2011. Having met her a few times, he tricked her into getting into a van with him, drove to a dark country lane and raped her in the van. He went on to sexually assault a woman in her car and raped or attempted to rape others in hotel rooms or in their own homes. In each case, these women were prepared to meet him, but did not want sex with him at the time.

Lawrance's pattern of behaviour was eventually halted when one of his victims reported to the police that he had raped her. The subsequent police investigation, in particular into his activity on Match.com, revealed evidence of offences against seven victims. He was tried and convicted at Derby Crown Court, despite maintaining his claim that everything had been consensual.

Sue Matthews, Senior Crown Prosecutor at the CPS East Midlands rape and serious sexual offences team said: "Jason Lawrance is a dangerous sexual predator. He has gone from victim to victim, targeting them through online dating sites.

"Nobody should feel that meeting people through a dating site means that they are consenting to any sexual activity. If a person does not consent to sexual activity and the perpetrator does not reasonably believe they are consenting, that is an offence, regardless of how the victim meets the perpetrator, or how well they know each other.

"The victims in this case have shown real courage in telling the court about their ordeal. It is their evidence that has made Lawrance face the consequences of his actions. I would like to thank them all for coming forward and giving evidence.

"The life sentence handed down reflects the seriousness of his offending."

Jason Lawrance will be sentenced on 3 March 2016.