A multi-millionaire tech entrepreneur has been behind bars for 10 months after he was convicted of sexually assaulting an ex-employee, it can be reported today.

Lawrence Jones, 55, who was raised in Denbigh and has a property in Eryri, was remanded in custody in January after a jury at Manchester Crown Court found him guilty of the offence.

On Thursday, reporting restrictions in the case were lifted at the conclusion of a second trial in which the former chief executive of UKFast was convicted of drugging and raping two women decades earlier when he worked as a hotel bar pianist.

He will be sentenced for all matters on December 1.

Jones, of Hale Barns, Greater Manchester, set up the web hosting provider 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 a MBE in 2015 for services to the digital economy.

In January 2019 a former employee rang police to make a string of allegations against Jones including that he had forced himself on her to have sex in 2010.

A second woman then came forward to say that Jones sexually assaulted her in a hotel on a 2013 business trip.

At Jones’s first trial, prosecutor Eloise Marshall KC told jurors: “On the way to the hotel in the back of a taxi he (Jones) commented inappropriately that he could see up her dress.

“When they arrived at the hotel, it transpired that although she had a separate room to Jones, it was part of the penthouse suite and adjoined a seating area, with an open bath and Mr Jones’s bedroom.”

The pair later had drinks in the hotel bar where the complainant said she became upset when Jones asked intrusive questions about sexual acts with an ex-boyfriend, the court heard.

Ms Marshall went on: “After the bar, they went back up to the penthouse suite.

“He sat next to her on the sofa and became more persistent in his approaches to her despite her clear resistance.

“He put his arm around her and started dragging her in towards him. He ignored (the complainant) repeatedly who was clearly telling him that she did not want to engage in this sort of behaviour.

“Things escalated and he started asking: ‘Let me see your knickers’. As he said that he placed his hands on her body, on her legs and became quite forceful trying to prise her legs apart, with his hands on the inside of her thighs.

“This caused her dress to ride up and as she was trying to pull it down and get away, he was trying to get on top of her.”

The woman managed to escape from Jones’ clutches into her room and locked the door, said the prosecutor.

She later left the company as Jones “paid for her silence”, said Ms Marshall, with a £13,000 settlement which required her to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement).

Giving evidence, Jones claimed the woman “quickly became drunk” in the hotel bar and was “flirtatious”.

He considered her to be a troublemaker and denied any wrongdoing.

Jones said she was not recruited because he was attracted to her and did not tell her she needed to look like a “Bond girl”.

He said he did not create a sexual atmosphere in the workplace by being “handsy” and “touchy”.

Jones told Miss Marshall: “I put my hands on people’s shoulders but only people I thought I had a really good relationship with. There’s nothing sexual about what I was doing.

“I gave hugs to people, that’s the sort of person I am.”

Jones was cleared of the sexual allegations he faced concerning the first complainant – one count of rape and three counts of sexual assault.

He denied any sexual contact with the first complainant apart from one occasion, he said, when he “crossed the line” at his family home.

Jones said both became “very drunk” when drinking tequila, along with his wife who became ill and went to bed.

He and the complainant then moved from the swimming pool area, he said, to the steam room where he said the complainant performed oral sex on him.

Jones admitted he kept silent about the incident to his wife who attended court each day of the two trials in support of her husband.

At Jones’s second trial this month, he denied attacking two women at his then flat in Salford in the early 1990s.

In 2021 and 2022, the women, who did not know each other, came forward to the police and made separate allegations of rape against the defendant.

One complainant described being given something to sniff 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.

Miss Marshall told jurors: “Both women were stupefied and left partially conscious but unable to react.

“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.”

Jurors in the second trial were not told about his sexual assault conviction earlier this year.

Mrs Jones held her hand over her mouth as the jury foreman delivered the unanimous verdicts after four hours of deliberations, while two of the defendant’s daughters were in tears in the public gallery.

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.

“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.”