news: Disgraced £700m tech tycoon once dubbed ‘Britain’s nice boss’ is branded ‘misogynistic’ by judge he’s jailed for 15 years for drugging and raping two women 30 years ago while working as hotel bar pianist
A disgraced multi-millionaire tech tycoon was today slammed as ‘arrogant’ and ‘misogynistic’ by a judge as she jailed him for 15 years for sex attacks on three women.
Lawrence Jones, 55, who was once dubbed ‘Britain’s nicest boss’, behaved with ‘entitlement, dominance and a total lack of regard for the rights and freedoms of women’, Judge Sarah Johnston told him.
She said the success of the £700million business empire Jones created with his ‘loyal’ wife hid the reality of a workplace that was ‘tainted by your attitude to women’.
The father of four had built a reputation as a business guru, playing chess against Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island and regularly featuring on the BBC.
Staff at his Manchester-based web hosting firm UKFast enjoyed perks including an on-site bar, ice rink, recording studio and even a ‘den’ for taking naps.
The businessman – seen outside court – pounced on both women at his flat while earning a living as a musician in the early 1990s. Pictured outside Manchester Crown Court in January
Former tech tycoon Lawrence Jones was last week found guilty of drugging and raping two women
Jones’ loyal wife Gail, pictured today leaving Manchester Crown Court after his sentence, had stood by him during the trial. The couple share four daughters
Lawrence Jones arriving at Manchester Crown court earlier this year with wife Gail
Jones’s success saw him appointed MBE in 2015 for services to the digital economy (pictured with wife Gail)
Lawrence Jones, once known as ‘Britain’s nicest boss’, pictured with his wife Gail
But his fortune began to crumble following a bombshell Financial Times article in which unnamed female employees accused him of bullying and sexual harassment.
Last week the father-of-four was convicted of drugging and raping two ‘stupefied’ women in the early 1990s while earning a living as a hotel pianist.
Following their verdicts, it was revealed that back in January he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman employee of UKFast back in 2013.
That conviction – which has seen Jones spend the past ten months behind bars on remand – could not be reported at the time to avoid prejudicing the jury in the second trial.
Today his 46-year-old wife and two elder daughters were in the public gallery to sentenced at Manchester Crown Court.
Jones watched grim-faced as all three women he was convicted of attacking sat side-by-side from behind a screen as they spelt out the impact of his crimes.
His first rape victim, referred to as Woman A, said she had been consumed by feelings of ‘anger and revulsion’ after the attack.
When she learned years later that Jones had become ‘a millionaire businessman’ and ‘father of four girls’, she felt ‘struck to my core’, she said.
But she did not go to police at that stage, saying that ‘now he had daughters of his own’ he might have ‘changed for the better’.
However in January 2021 she learned that Jones had been charged with rape and sexual assault.
‘My response was immediate and visceral – I retched,’ she said.
She felt ‘disgusted’ and ‘repulsed’ but decided to go to police.
‘Rape and sexual assault are never, ever about sex,’ she added. ‘They’re only ever about power, something the perpetrator was clearly desperate to feel.’
Woman B said her ordeal had made her ‘mistrust’ men’s motives.
Jones was appointed MBE for services to the digital economy in the 2015 New Years Honours list (pictured with his medal)
Before his downfall, the father-of-four had built a £700million fortune and a reputation as a business guru, playing chess against Sir Richard Branson
‘Thirty years later I can clearly see him for what he is,’ she added.
‘Everyone now knows the real Lawrence Jones.
‘To quote Lawrence Jones MBE “We are the sum of all the decisions we make.” How true that is.’
Woman D said she was ‘sexually assaulted by my boss, someone in a position of power’ while on a business trip, ‘somewhere I should have been safe’.
Jones pictured at the time he was earning a living as a hotel pianist
‘I was isolated, trapped overnight.’
She said the resulting anxiety and the battle to bring Jones to justice had consumed an entire decade of her life.
Jailing him, Judge Johnston told Jones his ‘work ethic’ was ‘unquestionable’, as was his love for his family.
She said a letter from Mrs Jones had made plain the ‘devastating impact’ of his convictions on his young daughters.
But she said that by contrast he had shown ‘no remorse’ for his crimes.
Jones did not react when his sentence was handed down, but he mouthed ‘I love you’ to his wife before being led to the cells.
The couple’s success at turning a business they started in a spare bedroom into a leading light of the UK tech sector saw Jones appointed MBE for services to the digital economy, and he twice donated £100,000 to the Conservative Party.
The Bentley-driving entrepreneur’s downfall has been dubbed ‘Manchester’s #MeToo moment’ after he survived multiple allegations of sexism and accusations of being a ‘dinosaur in a suit’.
Jones, of Hale Barns, was acquitted of raping a second female former employee who alleged he had pinned her down and attacked her as she was preparing for the UKFast Christmas party at a trendy Manchester hotel in 2010.
A string of lurid revelations about his lifestyle and behaviour towards female employees emerged during the first trial.
They included his own claim that one performed a sex act upon him in the steam room of his £3million Cheshire mansion following a tequila-fuelled drinking session – something she denied.
Jones inside the Salford flat where the rapes took place. One of the women described him as having poor hygiene Pictured: Jones in his flat in the 90s
A young Jones on the phone inside the messy apartment in Salford in the 90s
Another testified that Jones told her she needed to have ‘a boob job’ if she wanted to get ahead in the company.
His second trial last month heard that two women were rendered ‘stupefied and left partially conscious but unable to react’.
One claimed Jones invited her to his Salford flat for a late night drink in late 1993.
She told police she began feeling ‘spaced out’ and ‘very floaty’ after he poured her a glass of wine and rolled her a cannabis joint.
When she ‘came round’, she found him ‘kissing her neck’ before a ‘grinning’ Jones then had ‘forceful’ sex with her.
The other alleged victim alleged that Jones told her to sniff a small medicine bottle with a clear liquid inside.
She claimed she immediately felt ‘relaxed all over and really out of it’, and slumped onto a bed where she alleged that Jones had ‘opportunistic’ sex with her.
Jones maintained he would never give any substance to a woman without her consent.
This week Manchester Metropolitan University ‘formally rescinded’ the award of honorary doctor of business administration it bestowed on Jones in 2016.
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12814717/Rapist-tech-tycoon-Lawrence-Jones-jailed-15-years-700m-mogul-dubbed-Britains-nicest-boss-locked-drugging-attacking-two-women-30-years-ago-working-hotel-bar-pianist.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270