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Lawrence Jones goes on trial in Manchester

The trial of Lawrence Jones, the founder and former CEO of Manchester tech firm UKFast, has started in Manchester.

The 55-year-old, from Hale Barns in Greater Manchester, is accused of raping two women in Salford in the 1990s. He denies both allegations.

The Manchester Evening News reports that Judge Sarah Johnston told jurors that the trial was estimated to last two weeks.

Jones was one of the most high-profile tech entrepreneurs in the North having founded UKFast with his partner Gail in 1999.

He stepped down as CEO in October 2019 following allegations that first surfaced in a Financial Times investigation.

Jones and his wife exited UKFast in May 2020 when private equity group Inflexion increased its shareholding in the company to around 75%.

The pair had each owned 30.9% of the company, having already sold a 31.6% stake to Inflection in 2019.

Inflexion then announced the merger of UKFast and ANS, with the rebranded company unveiled as ANS Group in January 2022.

Jones was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to the digital economy.

In February this year, Jones resigned as a trustee of the Jones Community and Education Trust, the charity he had formed in 2016.

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