Computer consultant Mark Lancaster's case sent to Crown Court over sexual exploitation charges after Independent published story about SponsorAScholar website

Father-of-two is accused of running website that offered to pay women's university fees in exchange for sex

A computer consultant accused of seeking to lure a woman into sexual exploitation through a website that offered to pay the university fees of female students had his case sent to the Crown Court.

Mark Lancaster, 39, who was arrested by Scotland Yard officers following an investigation by The Independent into the SponsorAScholar website, was told that his case will be heard by a judge next month at a brief hearing at the Westminster Magistrates Court in central London.

The father-of-two, from Horndean, Hampshire, is accused under the Sexual Offences Act of two offences allegedly committed during September last year. One charge is an allegation of voyeurism and the second accuses him of trafficking a woman within the United Kingdom for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

The IT consultant, who was previously employed as a sub-contractor for military computer systems run by the Ministry of Defence including software used during the invasion of Iraq, did not enter a plea to the charges against him.

He will be appear before Southwark Crown Court early next month.

The computer expert was detained in December by the Trafficking and Prostitution Unit of the Metropolitan Police at an address in Milton Keynes.  He was later released on bail.

The SponsorAScholar website claimed to be able to arrange for young women to be matched with clients willing to pay up to £15,000 a year to cover tuition fees and living expenses in return for sexual relations.

It was removed shortly after The Independent published a story about its activities.

Mr Lancaster, who left the court with his face wrapped in a scarf and wearing a baseball cap, was remanded on bail until 10 July.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'