Ex-UKFast boss Lawrence Jones drugged and raped women, jury hears

Lawrence Jones

A hotel bar piano player-turned-tech entrepreneur drugged and raped two women, a court has heard.

It is alleged Lawrence Jones, 55, attacked the women decades before he entered the public eye due to his successes at UKFast Limited, a tech company he owned and managed.

Manchester Crown Court heard he was working as a pianist at the time of the alleged offences in the 1990s.

Mr Jones, of Hale, Greater Manchester, denies two counts of rape.

Opening the case, prosecutor Eloise Marshall KC, said: "In 2021 and 2022, two women, who did not know each other, came forward to the police and made separate allegations of rape against Lawrence Jones.

'Partially conscious'

"It is the Crown's case that at the time Lawrence Jones committed those rape offences, he used drugs in order to facilitate them.

"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."

She added: "Such was the effect of the drugs that the women, even then, were unclear about what drug had been used and exactly what had happened to them."

One woman described being given something to sniff at Mr Jones's flat which had an "immediate impact" on her, while the other described being overly affected by a glass of wine and a few puffs of what she believed was cannabis.

The prosecutor said both women could not have consented to sex after being drugged and that the defendant would have known that.

Ms Marshall went on: "It has taken them [the women] many years to come forward and speak to the police about what Lawrence Jones did to them.

"By the time that they did, everyone had moved on and were in different roles in their lives.

"Lawrence Jones had become a local entrepreneur and at one time he owned and managed a company called UKFast Limited. It is a tech company and it was this success in that role which brought him into the public eye."

Mr Jones stood down from UKFast in 2019.

The trial is scheduled for two weeks.

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