Former UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones charged with rape and sexual assault

Lawrence Jones
X The Business Desk

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Lawrence Jones, co-founder and former chief executive of Manchester cloud hosting group UKFast, has been charged with one count of rape and four counts of sexual assault.

He is due to appear at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on January, 26.

The charges followed investigations by Greater Manchester Police who said the offences were alleged to have taken place in 2010 and in 2013.

Mr Jones, 52, of Hale Barns, has denied all allegations.

Claims of serious misconduct by unnamed former employees first came to light in October 2019, following a report by the Financial Times.

Later that month Mr Jones stepped down from his role as chief executive in the wake of the allegations, which he described as “wholly untrue”.

In May last year Mr Jones and his wife, Gail, left UKFast.

GMP has issued a statement saying: “A man has been charged with rape and sexual assault following an investigation by detectives.

“Lawrence Jones (01/08/1968), of Brooks Drive, Hale Barns, has been charged with one count of rape and four counts of sexual assault following reports in 2019.

“The offences are alleged to have taken place in 2010 and 2013 respectively.

“Jones is due to appear at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 26 January 2021.”

The Financial Times published a statement from Mr Jones, which said: “Approximately 18 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.”

UKFast is one of the North West’s business success stories of the past 20 years.

The business broke through the £50m-turnover in 2018, as it generated profits of more than £7m. It employs more than 350 people across its Manchester campus, London sales office and data centres.

Mr and Mrs Jones, who was managing director, owned 61.8% of UKFast. Private equity firm Inflexion was a significant minority shareholder and controlled 31.6%, after an investment in December 2018, which valued the business at more than £400m.

Following the couple’s departure, Inflexion increased its holding to around 75%.

Mr and Mrs Jones’s net wealth was estimated to have reached £700m by 2019, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

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