Match.com rapist has prison term extended after lying about vasectomy to victim who fell pregnant

Jason Lawrance told woman he was infertile after raping several other victims he targeted on dating website

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Thursday 03 October 2019 18:56 BST
Lawrance was found guilty of five counts of rape during a second trial after more of his victims came forward
Lawrance was found guilty of five counts of rape during a second trial after more of his victims came forward (PA)

A serial rapist who used dating websites including Match.com to target his victims has been given extra prison time for attacks on five more women.

New victims, including a woman who fell pregnant after Jason Lawrance lied about having a vasectomy, came forward to police he was initially jailed in 2016.

The father-of-three contacted thousands of women on Match.com and its partner company Dating Direct between 2009 and 2014, attacking 12 of them in what a judge described as a “campaign of rape”.

While he physically attacked several victims, Lawrance was found guilty of two counts of rape after a jury decided the fact he lied about having a vasectomy invalidated his victim’s consent.

Nottingham Crown Court heard the 54-year-old reassured the woman repeatedly but messaged the woman the day after they had sex, writing: “I have a confession. I’m still fertile. Sorry.”

The woman had an abortion but Lawrance later passed the attack off as “just banter”.

During the same month – July 2014 – he married another woman who he met on Match.com and later attacked three more victims in Cambridgeshire, Rutland and Derbyshire.

Lincolnshire Police had arrested Lawrance in 2013 after a woman reported he raped her at home, but failed to charge him because of “insufficient evidence”.

Match.com was also heavily criticised for allowing him to remain on the site after four women reported abusive behaviour.

Lawrance’s lawyer, Shaun Draycott, has since said he would be appealing against the convictions relating to the fake vasectomy and expressed concerns over their wider implications.

Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, consent can only be given by a person who “has the freedom and capacity to make that choice” – a freedom prosecutors said was removed by the deception.

Lawrance was jailed in 2016 for attacks on seven women and jailed for life with a minimum of 12-and-a-half years.

That prison term of was extended by two-and-a-half years on Thursday, giving a 15 year minimum.

Lawrance denied all charges and maintained all sex had been consensual, but was found guilty of five counts of rape, one count of sexual assault and one charge of assault by penetration.

Jason Lawrance in an undated handout released by Derbyshire Constabulary
Jason Lawrance in an undated handout released by Derbyshire Constabulary (Reuters)

The former builder, who used profile names such as KeepItStraightToday and StraightMan-Looking, showed no emotion as he was sentenced by Justice Jeremy Baker.

“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,” he said.

“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 victim impact statements read to the court by the prosecution, women described how they felt “sick”, “humiliated” and “embarrassed”.

One of the victims had a belt wrapped around her neck in a place called Bluebell Woods near Market Harborough, shortly after Lawrance joined Match.com in 2009.

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.

The five new victims came forward after his “criminality filtered out into homes across the country” through news reports of the 2016 trial.

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In a statement, Match.com said safety was its “primary priority”.

“We were appalled by the terrible acts committed by Lawrance and commend the individuals for their courage in reporting these to the authorities,” a spokesperson added.

“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.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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