Kilburn: Guru cult leader jailed for rape
A self-styled guru and cult leader who raped and sexually abused his disciples has been jailed for 10 years. Michael Lyons, 52, of Brondesbury Park, Kilburn preyed on professional, middle-class women among followers who believed he possessed healing power
A self-styled guru and cult leader who raped and sexually abused his disciples has been jailed for 10 years.
Michael Lyons, 52, of Brondesbury Park, Kilburn preyed on professional, middle-class women among followers who believed he possessed healing powers and could cure cancer.
Using the name Mohan Singh, Lyons owned a penthouse apartment and toured the world with trips to Miami, Paris and India.
Lyons was accused of attacking seven followers, including tourists and backpackers.
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A jury at Wood Green Crown Court convicted Lyons of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another.
Detective Sergeant Nick Giles, investigating officer, said: "Lyons purported to be a naturopath, skilled in osteopathy, acupuncture and nutrition. His followers were mainly women, who supported his lavish lifestyle.
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"He was introduced to potential new members through his followers. The new members were also women, with interests in spiritualism and well being.
"We heard in evidence that Lyons used a program of sleep deprivation, psychological harassment as well as group social pressure to coerce them to join. He sexually assaulted victims during this process.
"This coercive persuasion forced people to change their beliefs, ideas, attitudes and behaviours, using psychological pressure, undue influence, threats, anxiety and intimidation."
Lyons was arrested in July 2008 and denied the charges, which dated from 1998 to 2007.
He was cleared of three more rapes and one more sexual assault but the jury could not reach a decision on another rape and sexual assault.
Those charges will lie on the court file.
Jailing him for seven years for rape and three years to be served consecutively for the sexual assault Judge Nicholas Browne QC said: "Women's groups everywhere will be shocked and appalled in the complicity in these two crimes of women close to you.