Multi-millionaire businessman Lawrence Jones has already spent 10 months in jail after being convicted of sexual assault, it can now be revealed. Jones, who founded the Hulme based tech firm UK Fast, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in a hotel room a decade ago, following a trial which concluded in January.
A reporting restriction was imposed by a judge prohibiting the media from reporting on the case, so that the jury in his second trial - where he faced two counts of rape - would not be prejudiced by press coverage. The judge lifted the order after Jones was convicted of raping two women in the 1990s.
Jones' two daughters wept in court as the verdict of the second trial was announced. His wife held her hands over her mouth in shock.
The first trial heard that Jones molested his victim a decade ago, inviting the heavily intoxicated woman into his adjoining hotel room during a business trip. The jury was told he prised her legs apart, put his hands on her inner thigh and told her ‘let me see your knickers’.
When she tried to stop him, Jones told her she had over-reacted to a joke. The woman managed to escape but in the days that followed Jones was ‘rude and very cold’ towards her.
After Jones was arrested, he sought to blame his victim telling cops he was ‘completely unimpressed with her attitude’ and that she became ‘quite drunk and became quite embarrassing’. He was found guilty of one count of sexually assaulting the woman. At the same trial, Jones was also cleared of one rape and three sex assaults against a second woman. Following the conviction, Judge Sarah Johnston remanded him in custody, where he remained during the second trial.
Following the second trial, which concluded today, he was convicted of two counts of rape. Prosecutors alleged that both women were given stupefying drugs before Jones raped them in the 1990s.
Jones denied both offences, claiming the sexual contact had been consensual with one of the women and that he had never met the other woman. He faces a lengthy jail term when the judge passes sentence on December 1.
After the hearing, Isla Chilton, Senior District Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offence Unit, said: “Jones raped two women with no thought for how his actions would affect them.
“By denying the offences, he compounded the harm to the women, attempting to evade responsibility for his actions. The jury saw through his lies and found him guilty.
“The CPS worked hard with Greater Manchester Police to build a strong case to put before the jury. To support the victims, we applied for them to give evidence by video interview and to be cross examined behind a screen so they would not need to face their abuser in the court room.
“I would like to thank the victims for supporting this prosecution and I hope this case will encourage others to seek justice. It’s never too late.”