Lawrence Jones: Ex-tech boss who drugged and raped women jailed | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

  • By Paul Burnell & PA Media
  • BBC News

Image caption,

Lawrence Jones drugged the women so they were “partially conscious” before raping them, the trial heard

Multi-millionaire tech entrepreneur Lawrence Jones has been jailed for 15 years for committing two rapes and a sexual assault.

Jones, 55, former boss of Manchester-based web hosting provider UKFast, was convicted in January of assaulting a female employee.

A second trial found him guilty of drugging and raping two women when he was a hotel bar pianist in the 1990s.

The father-of-four set up UKFast with his wife in September 1999.

Jones, of Hale, Greater Manchester, had already spent 10 months in jail.

A reporting restriction was imposed by a judge at Manchester Crown Court stopping the media from reporting on the first case, so as not to prejudice the jury in his second trial.

The trial heard Jones had left the two women “stupefied and partially conscious” before attacking them.

One woman said she was given something to sniff at his flat which had an “immediate impact” on her, while the other was overly affected by a glass of wine and a few puffs of what she believed was cannabis.

She told police she “felt frozen, as if she were made of lead” as Jones had sex with her so could not fight back. Jones had told her he could do what he wanted to her because no-one knew she was there.

Image caption,

Lawrence Jones was convicted of sexual assault in an earlier trial in January which can only be reported now

The other woman was “not completely conscious”, telling police: “It was so bizarre and so fast, and so sort of opportunistic.”

The jury in the first trial heard that in January 2019 an ex-employee told police Jones forced himself on her in 2010.

A second woman said Jones sexually assaulted her in a hotel on a 2013 business trip while she worked at UK Fast.

He was cleared of raping and sexually assaulting the first complainant but convicted of one count of sexual assault against the second complainant.

Passing sentence, Judge Sarah Johnston told Jones: “The three offences highlight that you thought you could behave with impunity.

“They are characterised by entitlement, dominance and a total lack of regard for the rights and freedoms of these three women and, in my view, an element of sinister premeditation.”

Jones received a 14-year sentence for one of the rapes, a seven-year concurrent jail term for the second and a 12-month consecutive custodial sentence for the sexual assault

Greater Manchester Police praised his victims for their “immense bravery” which “held Jones accountable for his heinous actions”.

Isla Chilton, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said Jones was a “sexual predator” who had caused “lasting emotional trauma” to his victims.

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