Hale Barns businessman appears in court on rape and sexual assault charges

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Lawrence Jones, the former chief executive and co-founder of Manchester tech firm UKFast, has appeared in court charged with rape and sexual assault.

The 53-year-old, from Brooks Drive in Hale Barns, pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault when he appeared at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court this morning.

He was not asked to enter a plea to a fifth charge, which relates to the rape of a woman at a Manchester hotel in 2010, because it can only be dealt with at a crown court.

The Manchester Evening News reports that Jones appeared in the dock for the four-minute hearing wearing a suit and mask.

He was asked to remove his mask to confirm his name, date of birth and address.

One of the sexual assault charges faced by Jones is alleged to have happened in Hale Barns between October 2010 and January 2012.

District Judge Bernard Begley adjourned the case until February 23rd when Jones will appear at Manchester Crown Court. He was released on unconditional bail.

In a statement released last month, Jones said: “Approximately eighteen months ago, I contacted the police and was interviewed voluntarily because I became aware of rumours circulating about me that although false were extremely damaging.

“I have fully co-operated with the police throughout, and am determined to ensure that my name is cleared. In the circumstances, at this time it would not be appropriate to say any more, other than to state clearly that I did not do what is being alleged.”

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