Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 15:07 UK

Women 'helped bogus guru lure rape victims' in London

A man masquerading as a guru and healer was helped by female followers to rape other women, a court has been told.

Michael Lyons, who used the name Mohan Singh, created a cult-like atmosphere and took advantage of women by offering bogus health treatments, jurors heard.

Wood Green Crown Court heard how he surrounded himself with "young, charming" women who told others that he could change their lives.

Lyons, 52, of Kilburn, north London, denies five counts of rape.

Prosecutor Philip Katz QC said the alleged victims were all vulnerable women and were sucked into Mr Lyons' group, reassured by the presence of other females.

He is a sexual predator masquerading as a guru and a healer
Philip Katz QC

"He is a sexual predator masquerading as a guru and a healer," said Mr Katz.

"He has for many years now been at the centre of a group of followers, overwhelmingly women, some of whom have been part of his circle for many years.

"The prosecution allege that this group has actually been operating as a kind of cult.

"Some of the existing members were actually actively helping to create opportunities for this defendant to take sexual advantage of new recruits," he said.

'Menacing e-mail'

The women were drawn in with claims that Mr Lyons had worked for the Dalai Lama and he would drive them around in expensive cars, the jury heard.

Those who left the group received menacing e-mail and text messages from other members, it is alleged.

Mr Lyons is accused of five counts of rape, two of sexual assault by touching and one by penetration. The allegations involve seven women and are dated between 1998 and 2008.

The case continues.

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