Millionaire businessman Lawrence Jones has been found guilty of drugging and raping two young women in his flat.
Jones, the founder of huge Manchester tech company UK Fast, was accused of assaulting the two women in the 1990s while he was a piano player in pubs and hotels across the city.
He denied all wrongdoing but after a three-week trial was convicted. Jurors were unanimous in their decision to find him guilty of two counts of rape.
The 55-year-old, who was made an MBE in 2015, will now face justice at a sentencing hearing scheduled for December 1.
The judge advised the jury that Mr Jones will be sentenced for these offences and a separate offence of sexual assault that he was found guilty of at another trial.
She said she did not tell them of the conviction because she wanted them to try the case based on the evidence in this trial. She said they will read about the prior offence he has been found guilty of.
Manchester Crown Court heard how Jones, then in his 20s, called one woman a ‘pr*** tease’ before pouncing on her after he had given her a glass of red wine and they had shared a spliff.
He then told the woman: “So do I have to teach you a lesson (or) are you just gonna let me f*** you.”
Jones, from Hale Barns, went onto rape another woman in his flat after telling her she was ‘gorgeous’ before telling her to sniff from a medicine bottle containing clear liquid. The woman said she felt ‘helpless’ before Jones climbed on top of her.
Jurors heard that in 2020 and 2021 the two women came forward to make separate allegations of rape. Prosecutor Eloise Marshall KC said Jones ‘used drugs to facilitate’ the rapes.
The prosecutor said: “The manner in which the drugs were administered in each case differs, but the effects were the same - both women were stupefied and left partially conscious but unable to react.” Neither woman knows ‘how the drugs were administered’, the jurors were told.
Giving evidence in court, Jones denied the offences, repeatedly saying: “It never happened, it never happened.” He said he would only use ‘poppers’ during ‘consensual’ sex.
Jones denied ever meeting Woman A and claimed that himself and Woman B had previously had sex a ‘couple of times’.
Jurors were sent out to deliberate their verdicts at 11.20am on Wednesday morning (November 22). After just four hours and two minutes, they found him guilty on all counts.