Derby

Match.com user Jason Lawrance guilty of rapes and assault

Jason Lawrance Image copyright Derbyshire Police
Image caption Lawrance claimed he had consensual sex with all of the victims

A man has been found guilty of raping five women and attacking two more after meeting them on internet dating site Match.com.

"Sexual predator" Jason Lawrance, 50, of Liphook, Hampshire, used two profiles to meet the seven women.

Lawrance, who will be sentenced on Thursday, committed three sex attacks months after marrying someone he met via the site, Derby Crown Court heard.

The attacks took place between June 2011 and November 2014.

Live updates and more from Derbyshire

The court was told Lawrance used his profiles keepitstraighttoday and straightmanlooking on Match.com but was keen to talk to women offline.

His seven victims were from five English counties.

Image copyright match.com
Image caption Match.com is one of the most popular sites with single people looking for a partner

Officers began investigating Lawrance after Derbyshire Police received a call in November 2014 from a woman who claimed one of her friends was raped by him.

The court heard that in June 2011, Lawrance drove a woman down a remote country lane near Crick in Northamptonshire and raped her in the back of his van.

Two years later, in July 2013, Lawrance contacted a woman by saying "Boo! xx" 24 hours after attempting to rape her at her house in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

The jury was told he had consensual sex at a woman's house in Buxton, Derbyshire, in November that year, but the following day raped her despite her "screaming hysterically".

Image caption Jason Lawrance denied five counts of rape, one of attempted rape and one sexual assault

He then sent her a text message reading: "When you were crying out for me to stop I couldn't, I'm so mad at myself xxx" and another saying "I was disgusted with myself for hurting you. I am so sorry. I am too rough for you xxx xx".

Lawrance, described by police as a "sexual predator", was also convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in February 2014 by grabbing her right breast over her clothing in a car parked at a hotel near East Midlands Airport.

He was also found guilty of raping a woman in a hotel room in Cambridgeshire in October 2014, in an attack in which he slapped her face and bit her lip, neck and breast.

A month later, he raped two more women - one he had met through Match.com at a hotel in Leicestershire, and another at her home following a meeting at a coffee shop in Sheffield, the court was told.

Det Ch Insp Allison Rigby praised the victims for their "bravery" for giving evidence.

She said: "Jason Lawrance is a prolific, serial rapist who preyed on women he had contacted through Match.com.

"These women were looking for companionship and instead what they found was a man who was willing to commit serious sexual offences against them."

'Darkest alley'

During his defence, Lawrance claimed he had consensual sex with all of the victims.

Derbyshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles said more needed to be done to make people aware of the dangers of popular dating sites.

"Personal safety advice used to incorporate avoiding walking down dark alleys at night, but the internet can be the darkest alley of all," he said.

A Match.com spokesman said it had the "most heartfelt concern" for the victims and that "the safety of our members is our highest priority".

An acquaintance of Lawrance told the BBC he attended school with him in Hinckley, Leicestershire, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

"Jason Lawrance had a reputation for being a hard boy; the hardest in his year," he said. "You didn't pick a fight with him."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites