CO-OWNER Helene Simpkins has defended the Brunel Rooms’ decision to welcome fraudster Jason Ranford back into the business. Ranford was jailed for six months for two counts of fraud and two counts of common assault in October 2013, at which point the club went to great lengths to distance itself from its former director. Ms Simpkins rang the Adver several times to insist he had nothing to do with the club.

A statement posted on the Brunel Rooms Swindon Facebook page at the time, read: “Mr Jason Ranford will have no future involvement with the operation of the Brunel Rooms.”

Over the New Year period, images were posted on the social network which included Ranford, Ms Simpkins and co-owner Paula Harris, all representing the nightclub. And last week, when general manager Nathan Hatter was arrested in connection with an alleged theft at the nightclub, it was Ranford who made a statement on behalf of the club. Talking about Ranford’s return, Ms Simpkins yesterday said the original Facebook statement wasn’t her.

“That was Nathan making us say that statement,” she said. “Nathan put that statement up when he was in charge. We let Nathan take over a little but obviously he’s no longer involved with the club.

“Jason helps me bring the club up. He’s not back as a director, just with promotions. He’s trying to get people into the club, because he does know lots of people in Swindon. There are a lot of people that do like him.”

In response to Ms Simpkins’ comments, Nathan Hatter said: “The statement released on the club’s social networks was a collaborative effort between all management under the direction of Helene and Paula.

“It was confirmed by them, that following Mr Ranford’s sentencing, he would be written out of the business in terms of a lease holder and share holder, and that his directorship was only that of a title, which would subsequently be revoked.”