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Businessman jailed for sexual offences against three women.

|News, Sexual offences

A prominent businessman has been jailed for raping two women in Manchester 30 years ago and sexually assaulting another 10 years ago.

Former UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones, 55, was jailed for 15 years at Manchester Crown Court on 1 December 2023 for the rapes and for a sexual assault against a third woman in 2013.

He was found guilty of the rapes after an 18-day trial in November 2023.

Jones denied the offences in interview and throughout the court proceedings, claiming the sexual contact had been consensual with one of the women and that he had never met the other woman.

The women, who were known to Jones, described being given some form of drug which made them feel "spaced out" and "really out of it" so they were unable to react to his unwanted sexual advances.

Jones was convicted of sexual assault on 31 January 2023. He touched a woman's inner thigh whilst on a business trip and used sexually explicit language which made her feel uncomfortable, so much so that she locked herself in a room.

Jones was in a position of power over the woman and used that fact to behave shamefully, by isolating her and making sexual advances when it would have been clear to him that they were not welcome.

Jones denied sexual assault but was found guilty after trial. He has since been in custody awaiting sentence.

All three women made victim personal statements which were read to the court, outlining the serious impact these offences had on them.

When sentencing Jones to 15 years imprisonment, the judge also ordered him to pay £52,000 towards prosecution costs. 

Isla Chilton, Senior District Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West's Rape and Serious Sexual Offence Unit, said: "Jones is a sexual predator and will now face the consequences of his actions.

"We would like to thank the victims in both cases for coming forward and reporting these devastating crimes. The CPS, working alongside our police partners, will continue to relentlessly pursue justice and prosecute those who commit sexual offences, whenever those offences took place.

"All three women provided impact statements outlining the lasting emotional trauma that Jones's actions have had on their lives over the years.

"I would encourage any victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence to report the crimes committed against them to the police. You are not alone."

Notes to editors

  • Lawrence Jones is from Hale Barns, Trafford, and was born on 1 August 1968.
  • He was found guilty of one count of rape between 30/11/1993 and 24/12/1993 and one count of rape between 01/05/1993 and 01/06/1994.
  • He was also found guilty of one count of sexual assault on 31/01/2023.
  • He was found not guilty of rape and three counts of sexual assault on 31/01/2023.
  • The CPS launched its National Operating Model for the prosecution of adult rape in July alongside a police national model. Read more here.
  • The model will step up cultural and operational change right across the CPS by setting an improved and standardised approach for how all adult rape cases are handled.
  • As a result of joint working between prosecutors and police, the CPS is seeing more case referrals, more suspects charged, and decisions made more quickly. Communication channels and working relationships between the CPS, police and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors are also seeing marked improvements.

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