Dating site rapist guilty of further sex offences

|News, Sexual offences

A rapist who preyed on women he met on dating website Match.com has been convicted of sexual offences against five further victims.

Jason Lawrance was convicted of rape and sexual assault in March 2016 for sexually abusing women he had targeted through the online dating agency. Following that case at Derby Crown Court, other victims reported that he had raped and abused them. He was charged with a further series of sexual offences and today, 31 July, convicted of five counts of rape, one count of sexual assault and one count of assault by penetration.

Lawrance targeted the women through the site and forced himself on them. One of his victims consented to sex but asked him to stop when he became violent and with others he used his physical strength to subdue and assault them. One of his victims consented to sex on the condition that contraception was used. Lawrance told her he had had a vasectomy, only disclosing afterwards that this was a lie. In each case, consent was either withdrawn or refused.

Sue Matthews, for the CPS, said: “Jason Lawrance may have been serving a life sentence for his crimes against the victims for the first trial, but these were serious allegations and it was important to pursue justice for these victims as well.

“Each of the victims suffered a deeply personal trauma, but thanks to their evidence, the man who raped or sexually assaulted them has faced the consequences of his actions. I would like to thank them for being brave enough to report the crimes and then give evidence.

“The issue throughout the case is consent. Sexual activity without consent, or without reasonable belief there is consent, is a criminal offence. Lawrance was already identified as a dangerous offender and a parole board will now have to consider these offences as well when the minimum term of his sentence has been served.”

Building the case:

Allegations from these victims were disclosed following Jason Lawrance’s conviction in 2016. One matter was already under consideration.

A decision was made to charge Lawrance, even though he was already serving a life sentence. The CPS based the decision on the seriousness of the offence, the needs of these victims and the impact further convictions would have on the risk he poses when considering parole.

A primary consideration for the CPS was supporting the victims in giving their evidence. This could be a daunting experience, but the prosecution secured special measures from the court to help them. Most victims gave their evidence in chief by video and were cross-examined from behind a screen so Lawrance would not be able to see them on the witness stand.

The prosecution involved complex areas of law, in particular the issue of conditional consent to prove that Lawrance’s actions in lying about having had a vasectomy constituted rape. The CPS used messages sent by Lawrance to the victim to prove he had lied and demonstrated that, in law, his actions had prevented the victim from making a free choice about her consent.

Jason Lawrance will be sentenced at a later hearing.

Notes to editors

Sue Matthews is a Senior Crown Prosecutor from the CPS East Midlands Complex Casework Unit

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