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Cult leader jailed for rape, claims he was raised in India

india Updated: Jul 27, 2010 12:51 IST

A cult leader, who claims to have been raised in an Indian ashram and goes by the name of Mohan Singh, has been jailed after being found guilty of rape and sexual assault in Britain.

Michael Lyons, 52, alias Mohan Singh, posed as a spiritual guru to woo his ­victims by convincing them he was a healer, Daily Express reported on Tuesday.

He led a ­lavish lifestyle. He owned flats in London, Los ­Angeles and Miami and drove Bentleys and Jaguars. He even claimed he was the Dalai Lama’s osteopath.

Lyons was brought to trial after an investigation involving Scotland Yard and the FBI.

Police said on Monday that Lyon's cult was run like a “military community” ­and the followers paid thousands every year.

Eleven women from Britain, the US and New ­Zealand gave evidence against Jamaica-born Lyons at London's Wood Green Crown Court.

Detective Sergeant Nick Giles said: "There were a lot of ­allegations of inappropriate ­conduct, assault and rape within this organisation. It was run like a military ­community. We have liaised with the FBI and they are aware of all this.

"He perhaps has hundreds of followers here and in the US."

Lyons, who claimed he was raised in an Indian ashram, lured women in using a harem of female devotees who vouched for him, the court was told.

He was found guilty of raping an aspiring actress in June 2002.

The victim had gone a Belsize Park flat in north London after a work colleague praised Lyons as “a spiritual, maybe psychic person”.

He spread fumes from a frying pan around her and mumbled mantras before trying to massage her. The cult guru then raped her.

“He (Lyons) manoeuvred my neck and it was so violent I thought he had broken my neck. I was completely stunned,” the victim was quoted as saying.

He took her into his bedroom and raped her, though she pleaded with him to stop.

Another woman was assaulted in January 2005.

She was under the impression that Lyons was going to help her with a chiropractic treatment.

Lyons, who was clothed in crimson and yellow robes, carried out some neck pulls on her at a spa in west London before she went with him in a Bentley back to a flat where he began massaging her legs. He then assaulted her.

The distressed woman said: “He did an incantation from the Sanskrit or it could have been mumbo-jumbo for all I know. I was bewildered and angry.”

Judge Nicholas Browne QC imposed a life-long strict sexual offences prevention order on Lyons forbidding him to touch any female in public or in private whom he has known for less than six months.

He was jailed for seven years for rape and three years for sexual assault to run consecutively.