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Altrincham-based businessman guilty of drugging and raping two women

Jones, of Brooks Drive in Hale Barns, made a fortune as the founder of Manchester-based tech company UKFast and was awarded an MBE in 2015.

Lawrence Jones will be sentenced on December 1

An Altrincham-based millionaire businessman faces years in prison after being found guilty of drugging and raping two young women in his flat.

Jones, of Brooks Drive in Hale Barns, made a fortune as the founder of Manchester-based tech company UKFast and was awarded an MBE in 2015.

He had been accused on assaulting two women in the 1990s while he was a piano player in Manchester.

And at Manchester Crown Court today, a jury found the 55-year-old guilty on both counts after just four hours and two minutes of deliberation.

Lawrence Jones photographed by Altrincham Today in Hale in 2015

It was also revealed today that Jones has already spent 10 months in jail after an earlier trial, which concluded in January.

At that trial, Jones was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in a London hotel room in 2012.

But reporting restrictions were put in place by the judge so that the jury in his second trial would not be prejudiced by press coverage.

Jones' wife Gail and two of his four daughters were in court today to see him convicted of two counts of rape.

The rapes took place in a flat in Salford between 1993 and 1994 when Jones was about 25, but the victims did not come forward until many years later.

Eloise Marshall KC, for the prosecution, said Jones used drugs to facilitate the rapes.

She 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.”

Jones made his fortune after co-founding tech firm UKFast with wife Gail

Giving evidence, Jones denied the offences, repeatedly saying: “It never happened, it never happened.”

But the jury disagreed, and Jones now faces a lengthy jail term when he is sentenced 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.”