A cult guru who raped a pretty recruit and sexually assaulted another may have attacked hundreds of women, it has been claimed after he was found guilty of rape.
Jet-setting Michael Lyons, 51, wore flowing robes, drove expensive cars and flew around the world boasting of links to the Dalai Lama. He was captured following a trans-Atlantic operation run jointly by Scotland Yard and the FBI.
Masquerading as spiritual leader Mohan Singh, his victims were convinced he was a healer who could help them. But in fact he was a ‘sexual predator’ who preyed upon young, often vulnerable women, after using his harem of apparently respectable female devotees to recruit his targets.
He was convicted on Friday of raping one woman at Wood Green Crown Court and of sexually assaulting a second.
A total of 11 women from London, America and New Zealand gave evidence against him.
He was found not guilty of three rapes and one sexual assault, while the jury could not reach a verdict on a further rape allegation and a further allegation of indecent assault, and these will lie on Lyons’ file.
Sources said the case, which contained allegations made between 1998 and last year, was merely ‘the tip of the iceberg’.
Lyons’ cult was made up of him surrounded by brainwashed women who pandered to his every demand.
A source said: ‘It doesn’t have a name – it’s just him and surrounded by a group of women.’
One victim told how they scurried to follow his orders when he ‘clicked his fingers’. But the other women also took on a sinister role, recruiting new members and ‘sucking them quickly into the cult atmosphere’.
Targets were quickly separated from ‘friends, family and reality’, falling for Lyons’ charm and charisma amid the apparently comfortable atmosphere created by the group of ‘respectable’ women.
The women he targeted were articulate and well educated.
Despite appearing to support a simple, spiritual lifestyle, Lyons owned flats in London, Los Angeles and Miami, drove Bentleys and Jaguars.
Even though his traumatised victims were forced to relive their ordeals at his hands, Lyons declined to take the stand to give the jury the benefit of his account.
As well as persuading victims from all over the world to give evidence against Lyons, prosecutors called parents of women still apparently in the cult. A distraught British father told how his daughter was brainwashed during her gap year after travelling to India before she was due to begin a PhD.
The case was a retrial following a hung jury last year. This time the jury were out for nearly four weeks before returning their verdicts.
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A self-styled guru accused of being a serial rapist sexually assaulted a woman who had come to him for help, a court heard today.
Michael Lyons, who used the name Mohan Singh, denies touching the woman inappropriately and said he met with the woman to help improve her well-being.
His friend Sophie Reddyhoff said she introduced the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to Lyons because she wanted him to “help her”.
Ms Reddyhoff told Wood Green Crown Court in north London that she met Lyons while she was travelling in India.
“From the time I spent in his company it became clear that he had expertise in body, nutrition, health and well-being,” she said.
The court heard that in January 2005 the two women met with Lyons, who was sometimes known as Dr Mohan, at a health club in High Street Kensington, London.
Ms Reddyhoff said that afterwards she joined others at a flat to watch a film and she invited the other women to join the group.
At the flat Lyons and the woman were alone together in a bedroom which had a curtain instead of a door.
Ms Reddyhoff said she could not see them but heard the pair jovially arguing.
“They can’t have been in there for more than five to seven minutes,” she said.
“He was challenging her on why she was so aggressive and why she was carrying herself like a man and she was arguing against that. They came out (of the room) laughing.”
She told jurors that the woman seemed “relaxed and happy” and left the flat an hour later.
Ms Reddyhoff said her friend did not tell her about any untoward incident which may have happened in the bedroom.
Ms Reddyhoff said her parents planted an idea in the head of the woman.
She said they “polluted” her mind because they were angry that she had changed when she got back from her travels in India.
“They just found a scapegoat in Mo because they had been angry that my interests and attitudes had changed since I came back from India.
“They were convinced I was in some cult with some scary leader which was very far from the truth.
Lyons, 52, from Brondesbury Park in Kilburn, north London, denies five counts of rape, two of sexual assault by touching and one by penetration on seven women between 1998 and 2008.
It is claimed that he attacked six of his victims in London and one in Manchester.
Lyons has declined to give evidence in the trial, which will resume tomorrow.