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Tech multi-millionaire who drugged and raped women jailed for 15 years
1 December 2023, 16:29 | Updated: 1 December 2023, 16:31
A multi-millionaire tech businessman has been jailed for 15 years for committing two rapes and a sexual assault.
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Lawrence Jones, 55, was convicted earlier this year in January of sexually assaulting one of his female employees on a business trip back in 2013.
He was found guilty by jurors in a second trial last month, accused of drugging and raping two women decades earlier when he worked as a hotel bar pianist.
The father-of-four has already spent 10 months in jail.
Sentencing him on Friday at Manchester Crown Court, 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.
The now multi-millionaire tech businessman, from Hale Burns in Greater Manchester, set up web hosting provider UKFast with his wife Gail in September 1999.
After starting the company from their spear room, they went on to deal with some 5,000 clients - including the NHS, the Ministry of Defence and the Cabinet Office.
UKFast employed around 500 staff, including many young people, and its success led to Jones becoming an MBE in 2015 for services to the digital economy.
Greater Manchester Police praised the victims for "immense bravery" which had enabled them to hold "Jones accountable for his heinous actions".
Isla Chilton, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said Jones was a "sexual predator" and "lasting emotional trauma" to his victims.