Oye! News from England
Published on Tuesday, 27 July 2010 07:30
Written by len humes
A man described as a 'spiritual group leader' has yesterday, Monday 26 July been convicted at Wood Green Crown Court of raping and sexually assaulting two female 'recruits' and sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison.
Michael Lyons AKA Mohan Singh, 52, of BrondesburyPark, London NW2 was found guilty of:
= One count of rape (against victim 3) and sentenced to seven years in prison;
= One count of assault by penetration (against victim 2) and sentenced to three years in prison.
The sentences will run consecutively. Lyons will also be subject to a sexual offences prevention order and will be placed on the sexual offenders register for life.
He was acquitted of three further counts of rape and one count of sexual assault (against victims 1, 4, 5 and 7).
A further count of rape and a further count of sexual assault (against victims 1 and 6) are to lie on file.
All counts relate to offences committed against seven women between 1998 and 2008.
His conviction follows a lengthy and demanding investigation led by Camden Police Sapphire officers, which included travel to the US to identify witnesses and secure evidence.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Nick Giles, said: "The prosecution evidence showed Lyons operated as a 'spiritual group leader' operating predominately in the United Kingdom and United States.
"Lyons purported to be a naturopath, skilled in osteopathy, acupuncture and nutrition. His followers were mainly women, who supported his lavish lifestyle.
"He was introduced to potential new members through his followers. The new members were also women, with interests in spiritualism and well being.
"We heard in evidence that Lyons used a program of sleep deprivation, psychological harassment as well as group social pressure to coerce them to join. He sexually assaulted victims during this process.
"This coercive persuasion forced people to change their beliefs, ideas, attitudes and behaviours, using psychological pressure, undue influence, threats, anxiety and intimidation.
"Witnesses from the UK, the USA and New Zealand gave evidence against Lyons who denied all the offences. Evidence of bad character was used to show his cult activities and sexual misconduct.
"Following the police investigation, Lyons was charged with offences of rape and sexual assault dating from as early as 1998.
"My praise goes to the victims of his crimes. I hope today's conviction can assist them, knowing they have contributed to bringing a dangerous offender to justice.
"I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of a sexual assault to have the confidence to come forward and speak to police. Be assured any allegation will thoroughly investigated.
"We will not give up on seeking justice, no matter how long ago the attack took place."
On 2 October 2005, Camden's Sapphire Unit launched an investigation after police received an allegation of rape from a 26-year-old woman (victim 1). The woman alleged Lyons raped her on two occasions at an address in BelsizePark, London.
During the investigation, a second victim, a 43-year-old woman (victim 2), alleged Lyons sexually assaulted her after meeting him through his group in London in January 2005.
As part of their enquiries, officers linked the allegations to an alleged rape committed against a 34-year-old woman (victim 3) in June 2002.
Lyons was actively sought in connection with all alleged offences. Enquiries established Lyons had left the country and was travelling abroad. His details were circulated via Interpol and on the 22 September 2007, Lyons returned to the UK and was arrested by police at HeathrowAirport and taken to Holborn Police Station for questioning.
On 23 September 2007, Lyons was charged with three counts of rape and one count of sexual assault by penetration on three separate victims and remanded in custody to appear before Wood Green Crown Court where he was bailed by the court to an address in Manchester to await trial.
The police investigation continued and as a result of further enquiries, on 26 September 2008, Lyons was further charged with the historic rape of a US citizen, aged 24 (victim 4) in London in 1998 and the historic rape of a New Zealand citizen, aged 23 (victim 5) in London in 2005.
Lyons was also further charged with two counts of sexual assault against a 31-year-old woman (victim 6) in Manchester in November 2007 and against a 45-year-old woman (victim 7) in London in July 2008.
Lyons was remanded into custody and subsequently granted court bail when he appeared before Highbury Magistrates Court on 27 September 2008.
He was dealt with as above.
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