Trial date set for Hale Barns businessman as he denies rape and sexual assault charges

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Lawrence Jones, the former chief executive and co-founder of Manchester tech firm UKFast, will face trial next year after denying rape and sexual assault during a hearing at Manchester Crown Court.

The 53-year-old, from Brooks Drive in Hale Barns, pleaded not guilty to a single count of rape and four counts of sexual assault.

He was released on unconditional date with a trial date set for February 7th 2022.

The Manchester Evening News reported that Jones, who stepped down as CEO of UKFast in October 2019 following allegations that first appeared in the Financial Times, appeared in the dock wearing a dark suit, red tie and face mask.

He is accused of raping a woman in 2010 and also accused of intentionally touching a female on her thighs without consent in 2013. The other sexual assault charges relate to the second female.

Jones had first appeared at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court last month but his case was sent to the crown court as the rape charge can only be dealt with at the higher court.

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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