London

Self-styled guru 'did not assault my friend'

A friend of a self-styled guru accused of raping several women told a court she did not believe he attacked one of her friends.

Sophie Reddyhoff said she introduced Michael Lyons, known as Mohan Singh, to the woman as she had been "unhappy".

Ms Reddyhoff told Wood Green Crown Court the woman had showed no sign of being attacked the evening in question.

Mr Lyons, 52, from Kilburn, north London, denies five counts of rape and two counts of sexual assault.

It is alleged the attacks, on seven women, were carried out between 1998 and 2008.

Mr Lyons, of Brondesbury Park, denied touching Ms Reddyhoff's friend inappropriately and said he was trying to improve her well-being.

Ms Reddyhoff met Mr Lyons while travelling in India and told the court that he had expertise in "body, nutrition, health and well-being" issues.

She made the introduction because the woman was allegedly "very angry" and "very unhappy".

Ms Reddyhoff told the court that she begged Mr Lyons to see this woman, describing him as "compassionate".

During a gathering at a flat, Mr Lyons was alone with the woman and they were "jovially arguing", Ms Reddyhoff told the court.

She said: "He was challenging her on why she was so aggressive and why she was carrying herself like a man and she was arguing against that. They came out [of the room] laughing."

'Very relaxed'

Ms Reddyhoff said her friend seemed relaxed and never subsequently mentioned any incident.

She said: "First of all I would never invite someone somewhere to be raped or assaulted or anything like that.

"Secondly I know Mo and he would never do anything like that, and finally, there was nothing in her behaviour that evening that would suggest anything untoward had happened. She seems very relaxed, very happy."

Ms Reddyhoff added: "I can say categorically that no-one was raped and no-one was molested."

She told the court she believed her own parents may have planted the idea in the head of the woman, because they were unhappy with the way Ms Reddyhoff had changed after returning from India.

The trial continues.

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