Manchester Metropolitan University strips convicted rapist and former UKFast boss of doctorate

Lawrence Jones was found guilty of two charges of rape and one charge of sexual assault Credit: MEN Media

The founder of major internet hosting company UKFast has had his Honorary Doctorate rescinded after being convicted of rape.

Lawrence Jones, 55, was found guilty of two counts of rape on 23 November 2023 at Manchester Crown Court, where it was also revealed he was previously found guilty of sexual assault in 2022.

After his conviction, Manchester Metropolitan University removed all reference to Jones from their website and formally stripped him of his honorary doctorate.

In a statement, the University said: "Following the conviction of Lawrence Jones on two counts of rape, and the announcement of the earlier conviction for sexual assault, we have formally rescinded the honorary doctorate he was awarded by the University."

Jones, who lived in Cheshire prior to his conviction, was named an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in 2016, in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to the digital economy in the North West region”. 

Lawrence Jones was the founder and former CEO of UKFast Credit: MEN Media

Jones, who was also awarded an MBE in 2015, was charged with raping two women in the 1990s during his time as a piano player in pubs and hotels across Manchester.

The jury delivered a unanimous verdict and found Jones guilty of both counts.

Prior to the trial Jones had also been convicted of sexual assault, where a jury was told he molested his victim while she drunk during a business trip.

The court heard he prised her legs apart, put his hands on here inner thigh and said: "let me see your knickers".

As well as his doctorate, Lawrence Jones was also awarded an MBE in 2015. Credit: MEN Media

When she tried to stop him, Jones told her she had over-reacted to a joke.

In the days that followed Jones was ‘rude and very cold’ towards her.

After Jones was arrested, he sought to blame her; telling police he was "completely unimpressed with her attitude" and that she became "quite drunk and became quite embarrassing".

At the same trial, Jones was also cleared of one rape and three sex assaults against a second woman.Following the conviction, Judge Sarah Johnston remanded him in custody, where he remained for ten months until the second trial concluded. Prosecutors alleged both women were given stupefying drugs before Jones raped them in the 1990s.

Jones denied both offences, claiming the sexual contact had been consensual with one of the women, and that he had never met the other woman.

When Jones was first accused of sexual assault in 2019, stepped down as CEO of Hulme-based company UKFast.

He will be sentenced on Friday 1 December.

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