A multi-millionaire tech entrepreneur has been jailed for 15 years after he was found guilty of rape and sexual assault.

Lawrence Jones of Brooks Drive in Hale Barns was convicted in January of sexually assaulting a female employee while on a business trip in 2013.

Jurors in a second trial found him guilty last month of drugging and raping two women decades earlier when he worked as a hotel bar pianist.

The 55-year-old was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court today (December 1) for two counts of rape and one count of sexual assault.

Jones set up a web hosting provider UKFast with his wife Gail from a spare bedroom in September 1999.

The company went on to deal with more than 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.

Sentencing him on 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.”

Detective Constable Stewart of Greater Manchester Police also said: "Our heartfelt appreciation goes to the remarkably courageous women who stepped forward to share the harrowing experiences they endured at the hands of Jones.

"Their bravery and strength have been instrumental in holding Lawrence Jones accountable for his heinous actions.

"We express our sincere thanks for their immense bravery throughout this challenging investigation and trial.

"With this sentencing, we aim to deliver a clear message to survivors of rape and other sexual offences — Greater Manchester Police will listen and will support you no matter who was involved or when it happened.

"No one should carry the weight of silence, and we encourage all victims to step forward and report these crimes to us.

"Greater Manchester Police remains dedicated in our unwavering pursuit of those responsible for rape and other sexual offences.

"We also remain committed to protecting and safeguarding victims and survivors, ensuring they receive the support and justice they rightfully deserve.”

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.

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