Serial dating site rapist has jail term extended after further sex attacks
A serial dating site rapist has had his prison term extended by two and a half years after sex attacks on a further five women.
Father-of-three Jason Lawrance contacted thousands of women on Match.com or its partner company Dating Direct between 2009 and 2014, attacking 12 of them in what a judge described as a “campaign of rape”.
Lawrance, 54, was convicted of lying about having a vasectomy after he got one woman pregnant in what is believed to be a legal first.
He later passed the attack off as “just banter”.
Despite reassuring her repeatedly, Lawrance, who used Match.com with profile names such as KeepItStraightToday and StraightMan_Looking, messaged her the following day to tell her: “I have a confession. I’m still fertile. Sorry.”
His solicitor, Shaun Draycott, has since said he would be appealing against those particular convictions, as he expressed concerns over their wider implications.
Despite offering no defence during his second trial at Nottingham Crown Court in July, Lawrance denied seven counts of rape, one charge of sexual assault and a further charge of assault by penetration – claiming all sex had been consensual.
Jurors found him guilty of five counts of rape, one count of sexual assault and one charge of assault by penetration, as well as clearing him of two rape charges.
The former self-employed builder had previously been jailed for life with a minimum term of 12 years and six months at Derby Crown Court in 2016, for sexually violating seven women.
Five of Lawrance’s latest victims came forward after his “criminality filtered out into homes across the country” through news reports of the 2016 trial.
On Thursday, his minimum term, which was handed to him at Derby Crown Court, was increased by two and a half years to 15 years.
Extending the former businessman’s prison term, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said: “I have had the benefit of reading the sentencing remarks from the earlier hearing in 2016, from which it is apparent that you were sentenced for what was in effect a campaign of rape and other sexual offences, committed against women who met you over a dating website known as Match.com.
“Those women were mature, intelligent individuals who were looking for companionship and intimacy, whilst you were looking for women who you could and did overpower for your own sexual gratification.
“In reality the offences for which this court has to sentence you form part of that campaign of rape, as each of the women you raped or otherwise sexually abused were also mature intelligent individuals who were looking for companionship and intimacy, whilst the only thing that you were looking for was sexual gratification.”
As Lawrance showed no emotion in the dock, the judge continued: “Following your conviction for these offences I acceded to an application to adjourn the sentencing exercise on you, in order that the court could be furnished with a pre-sentence report.
“The court now has that report… which makes for both disturbing and depressing reading.
“Essentially you continue to maintain your denial of these offences, and in reality exhibit a lack of any significant insight into the very serious detrimental effect that these offences have had upon your victims.”
In victim impact statements read to the court by the prosecution, some of the women described how they felt after the attacks, with many saying they felt “sick”, “humiliated” and “embarrassed”.
Lawrance married a woman he met on Match.com in July 2014 – the same month he lied about having a vasectomy.
He also sexually violated three other women after his marriage, in Cambridgeshire, Rutland and Derbyshire.
He attacked another woman in late 2012 in her Northamptonshire home, before “calmly” going upstairs to have a shower.
Lawrance, formerly of Liphook, Hampshire, had met the woman after she invited him round for a coffee – and despite telling him “No, I don’t want this”, he responded with “shut up… it’s going to happen anyway”.
Other women were attacked in Lawrance’s car or van, with one being pushed on a double bed in the back of his van after taking a drive to Bradgate Park, Leicestershire in January 2014.
Jurors heard another woman had a belt wrapped around her neck in a place called Bluebell Woods in Dingley Dell, Market Harborough, shortly after he joined Match.com in 2009.
In a statement, a Match.com spokeswoman said: “At Match, member safety is our primary priority.
“We were appalled by the terrible acts committed by Jason Lawrance and commend the individuals for their courage in reporting these to the authorities.
“We have supported the police throughout both investigations and welcomed the jury’s verdict, as we now welcome the judge’s delivery of this fit and proper punishment.
“Match has a zero-tolerance policy for reports of serious offences and we encourage anyone who has felt exposed to unsafe behaviour, whether through our services or anywhere else, to speak to the police.
“The dating industry faces similar challenges to those that affect society as a whole. Sadly, there is a tiny minority of people who set out to harm others and the methods of doing so are always evolving.”