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Judge urges dating sites safety tools as serial rapist jailed

By Matthew Cooper

A judge has called for a review of internet dating safety measures after handing a life sentence to a "devious, manipulative" serial rapist who attacked seven women after meeting them online.

Judge Gregory Dickinson QC ordered Jason Lawrance to serve at least 12 years and six months behind bars before being considered for release.

The 50-year-old, from Hampshire, England, was also made the subject of restraining orders banning him from making any future attempt at direct or indirect contact with his victims.

After jailing Lawrance, who showed no emotion in the dock, Judge Dickinson expressed concern that four of the victims had made complaints to dating site before three other women were raped.

The trial at Derby Crown Court was told one of the victims had been interviewed by police in Lincolnshire and another had, through her friend, contacted Leicestershire Police.

Although he accepted the vast majority of people using dating sites were looking for companionship, Judge Dickinson said: "The seriousness of this case provides the need and the opportunity to learn something and to take steps to increase protection for others.

"It does seem to me that, in this age of easy access to data and records, there should be a system which allows one authority to be a central point of contact for any complaint of this nature.

"It does seem to me that consideration should be given to a system of automatic referral to the police or some other central agency of any complaint."

Judge Dickinson said that no one person or organisation had been in a position to "join the dots" or have an overview of the complaints made to the website.

Lawrance's trial heard that the former company director texted one of his victims after attacking her, 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 jury of six women and six men heard that Lawrance raped another woman in the back of a van parked in a field in Northamptonshire, while a third was attacked at her home in Lincolnshire while her son was asleep in a nearby bedroom.

Sentencing Lawrance for the attacks between June 2011 and November 2014, Judge Dickinson said: "I am convinced that you are devious, manipulative and highly dangerous to women.

"In my judgment these offences taken together - so many victims, the trail of terror and agony for which you are responsible - mean that the imposition of a sentence of imprisonment for life is fully justified."

Belfast Telegraph


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