A ‘sexual predator’ who used the internet dating site Match.com to meet divorced or widowed women has been found guilty of five counts of rape.
Father-of-three Jason Lawrance contacted thousands of women online and committed three sex attacks months after getting married to someone he met via the site.
The 50-year-old, of Arundel Close, Liphook, Hampshire, was also found guilty of attempting to rape and sexually assault two other women after chatting to them online.
The jury of six women and six men at Derby Crown Court heard that four of the victims complained about Lawrance to Match.com, and one of the women was told administrators could not do anything because he had not sent abusive messages through the site.
Lawrance, a former company director turned self-employed builder, persuaded his victims to give him their personal contact details by claiming he could not upload a photo to his online profile.
When they asked to see his image, he said he would send one to their personal email instead and he would then move the conversation away from the Match.com messaging system.
On one occasion, he texted a woman following his attack, apologising for ‘hurting her’ and saying: “When you were crying out for me to stop I couldn’t, I’m so mad at myself xxx.”
The court heard that Lawrance raped another woman in the back of a van which he had parked in a field in Northamptonshire, while a third was attacked at her home while her son was asleep in a nearby bedroom.
He was arrested after a friend of a woman who was raped in Derbyshire in November 2014 got in touch with the police.
Investigations revealed he had sexually attacked another six women he met through the site since June 2011.
Prosecuting, Shaun Smith QC told the jury that Lawrance – who used the site with the profile names KeepItStraightToday and StraightMan-Looking – was a Jekyll and Hyde character and that he targeted ‘vulnerable, naive, lonely women’.
Lawrance had denied all the charges and said the sex was consensual in all five charges of rape, that the attempted rape was a misunderstanding and that the sexual assault where he grabbed a woman’s breast was a ‘loving touch’ which she objected to, so he apologised.
The jury took 10 hours find Lawrance guilty of all charges.
Judge Gregory Dickinson remanded him in custody until his sentencing on Thursday morning.