Ex-UKFast boss Lawrence Jones denies drugging and raping women

Lawrence Jones

A hotel bar piano player-turned-tech entrepreneur has told a jury he had "absolutely not" drugged and raped two women in the early 1990s.

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.

The Crown say drugs given to each woman differed but left them both stupefied.

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

The first complainant described being overly affected by a glass of wine and a few puffs of what she believed was cannabis, while the second woman said a sniff from a medicine bottle with clear liquid inside had an "immediate impact".

Giving evidence on Monday, Mr Jones told Manchester Crown Court he could not recall ever meeting the first complainant.

His barrister Eleanor Laws KC asked: "Do you remember anything sexual happening with her?"

"No," said the defendant.

Miss Laws asked: "Did you drug her?"

Mr Jones said: "No, absolutely not."

Miss Laws said: "Did you rape her?"

"No," said Mr Jones.

'Occasional' popper use

He told the jury he did smoke cannabis in the 1990s but was not a wine drinker at the time.

Mr Jones said he knew the second woman "very well".

Asked if he gave her drugs or raped her, Mr Jones replied: "Absolutely not, no."

He admitted he "occasionally" sniffed poppers - amyl nitrate - during that period.

Normally he would take it at nightclubs but also when having consensual sex with women and with their full knowledge, he said.

Asked when he would introduce the stimulant, he said: "To be very graphic, normally near the end at orgasm."

He denied the second complainant's claims that he gave her something to sniff to "relax her", before raping her.

Cross-examining, Eloise Marshall KC said: "Within minutes she was out of it because you well knew the effect of it?"

Mr Jones said: "That didn't happen."

Miss Marshall said: "Just long enough for you to have sex with her for about 30 seconds."

Mr Jones said: "No, it didn't happen. It never happened.

She accused the defendant of lying when he said he was living in a four-bedroom flat in Salford in the 1990s.

Both women - who had never met each other - described to police an "identical layout" of a two-bedroom flat where they say they were raped.

The trial continues.

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