Belsize health guru is the victim, hears court
Sanchez Manning A HEALTH guru accused of raping a string of women is the victim of false accusations by women suffering from depression and ME, a court heard. Michael Lyons, 51, from Belsize Park, is standing trial at Wood Green Crown Court on five counts
A HEALTH guru accused of raping a string of women is the victim of false accusations by women suffering from depression and ME, a court heard.
Michael Lyons, 51, from Belsize Park, is standing trial at Wood Green Crown Court on five counts of rape, and three charges of sexual assault.
Mr Lyons' friend Sophie Reddyhoff, 26, told the court she introduced him to two of her friends for spiritual and health guidance.
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The sales manager said she met Mr Lyons, also known as Mohan Singh, while on a "sexual rampage" through India after completing her undergraduate degree.
She said he helped restore her failing health and access hard-to-reach Tibetan lamas or Indian gurus to pursue her interest in spiritualism.
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After returning from India Ms Reddyhoff kept in touch with Mr Lyons, much to the dismay of her parents who worried that he was taking increasing control of their daughter's life.
On Monday the jury heard that in 2005 Ms Reddyhoff brought two friends to separate north London houses to meet Mr Lyons, along with a group of his followers. Both women allege that during these meetings Mr Lyons sexually assaulted them.
The first woman, in her 40s from Sheffield, travelled to London in January 2005 to meet Mr Lyons with Ms Reddyhoff at Holmes Place gym in Kensington before moving on to a house in Finchley Road.
But Ms Reddyhoff, a tenant of the alleged victim, claimed the woman never mentioned she had at any point been touched "inappropriately" by Mr Lyons. She also told the jury that her landlady, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was a "bitter" depressive who "blamed all men for her problems" after a recent divorce.
Asked whether Mr Lyons and her landlady had ever been alone in the flat in Finchley Road, Mr Reddyhoff said they were but they were always within earshot.
"I knew where they were and I could hear them having a conversation. I heard Mohan asking her why she was so angry and aggressive and she was saying she wasn't," she said. "He said, 'it's as if you want to be the man'.
"They could not have been in the room for more than five or 10 minutes."
The jury also heard that Ms Reddyhoff introduced another alleged victim at the end of 2005 - a childhood friend from Oxfordshire - at a house in Eton Garages, Belsize Park.
She said the woman in her 20s, who has ME, had suffered sexual and religious hallucinations during a trip the pair had taken to Lourdes in their late teens.
Referring to the evening the two had spent together, Ms Reddyhoff said her friend had "thrown a tantrum" because Mr Lyons had not been paying her enough attention.
She denied her friend was ever alone with Mr Lyons, and when asked by Abbas Lakha QC, defending, if the accused's behaviour had been untoward, she said: "Mohan hardly paid her any attention. Mohan hardly even acknowledged her."
Ms Reddyhoff admitted that despite being happy by end of the evening, her friend had taken a more negative view when she called her the next day. She added: "She was kind of one of those people who flip and flip - a schitzy type of thing."
The trial continues.