UK

Tory peer Michelle Mone hits back at claims she racially abused man of Indian heritage

The man who accused Michelle Mone of racism can today be named by MailOnline as Monaco-based financial consultant Richard Lynton-Jones, who says she told her he was ‘a waste of a man’s white skin’ in a WhatsApp message nearly three weeks after a fatal boat crash on the French Riviera.

It came as Conservative Peer Mone took to Instagram this afternoon to again deny claims she had racially abused Lynton-Jones who is of Indian heritage following a day of ‘drinking and partying’ on two superyachts which ended in the death of a deckhand.

In an exchange seen by The Guardian, it was also claimed Lady Mone referred to Mr Lynton-Jones’s partner as a ‘nut case bird’ and ‘mental loony’. 

Mr Lynton-Jones is believed to have a mother of Indian heritage and a white father but Lady Mone’s lawyers had today told the Guardian it was ‘illogical as it is inconceivable that she could or would have made such a comment or made it with the slightest racist intent’ because she had no knowledge that the man ‘was anything other than white British, as his appearance is 100% white, with a cut-glass English accent’.

They had added that Lady Mone believed vehemently he was ‘100% white and British’ and there was ‘no trace whatsoever of non-white colouring or any features’ on Mr Lyton-Jones.

This afternoon, Lady Moon said on social media: ‘Since when did calling out a man on his actions after a manslaughter and his entitled white privilege constitute racism? Quite the opposite – the accusations I have read today against me are full of contradictions.’  

The bust-up happened after Mr Lynton-Jones, 42, was among guests on a superyacht who met up with Lady Mone and her businessman husband Douglas Barrowman who were with friends and relatives on his 88ft yacht called Minx.

MailOnline can reveal that the two groups, totalling 18 people, motored out in their respective boats to enjoy a lunch at a restaurant on an island called Île Sainte-Marguerite, near Cannes, leaving their respective crews on board.

They later rafted their boats together so they could continue the fun day out on the water, hopping on and off each other’s boats, before deciding to return to shore in the early evening when it was still daylight after more than five hours of partying.

The French skipper of the second superyacht called Vision which was chartered by British internet gaming millionaire Richard Skelhorn, accidentally ploughed into Mr Barrowman’s boat as he was turning round to head for home. An MAIB investigation found the skipper had cannabis in his bloodstream.

British crewman Jake Feldwhere, 27, was on the foredeck of the Minx preparing to lift the anchor when he was struck and killed in the collision on the evening of May 25, 2019, which was the last day of the Cannes film festival.

Lady Mone also addressed the death of Mr Feldwhere in her post today, saying: ‘I will set the record straight on this defamation before deciding on any legal action. What I do know is the disgrace this man made of the young boy’s life who was lost by the super yacht he was partying on.  

‘Almost 3 years ago, I defended a young boy who tragically lost his life – the manslaughter investigation they are involved in is still ongoing. I will assist in any way that I can. ‘ 

Conservative Peer Michelle Mone took to Instagram this afternoon to again deny claims that she was racist after she allegedly sent a derogatory message to a man of Indian heritage following a day of ‘drinking and partying’ on two superyachts which ended in the death of a deckhand 

The 50-year-old ex lingerie tycoon is said to have told her husband's former employee, who now can be named by MailOnline as financial consultant Richard Lynton-Jones (pictured), that he was 'a waste of a man's white skin' in a WhatsApp message nearly three weeks after they had both been on the tragic day out on the French Riviera. In the alleged exchange, seen by The Guardian, it was also claimed she referred to the Mr Lynton-Jones's partner as a 'nut case bird' and 'mental loony

The 50-year-old ex lingerie tycoon is said to have told her husband’s former employee, who now can be named by MailOnline as financial consultant Richard Lynton-Jones (pictured), that he was ‘a waste of a man’s white skin’ in a WhatsApp message nearly three weeks after they had both been on the tragic day out on the French Riviera. In the alleged exchange, seen by The Guardian, it was also claimed she referred to the Mr Lynton-Jones’s partner as a ‘nut case bird’ and ‘mental loony

Mr Lynton-Jones is believed to have a mother of Indian heritage and a white father but Lady Mone's lawyers had today told the Guardian it was 'illogical as it is inconceivable that she could or would have made such a comment or made it with the slightest racist intent' because she had no knowledge that the man 'was anything other than white British, as his appearance is 100% white, with a cut-glass English accent'

Richard Lynton-Jones

Mr Lynton-Jones is believed to have a mother of Indian heritage and a white father but Lady Mone’s lawyers had today told the Guardian it was ‘illogical as it is inconceivable that she could or would have made such a comment or made it with the slightest racist intent’ because she had no knowledge that the man ‘was anything other than white British, as his appearance is 100% white, with a cut-glass English accent’

This afternoon, Lady Moon said on social media: ‘Since when did calling out a man on his actions after a manslaughter and his entitled white privilege constitute racism? Quite the opposite – the accusations I have read today against me are full of contradictions’

Crewman Jake Feldwhere (pictured), 27, was on the foredeck of an 88ft-long Minx preparing to lift the anchor when he was struck and killed off the coast of Île Sainte-Marguerite in 2019

Crewman Jake Feldwhere (pictured), 27, was on the foredeck of an 88ft-long Minx preparing to lift the anchor when he was struck and killed off the coast of Île Sainte-Marguerite in 2019

The French skipper of the second superyacht called Vision which was chartered by British internet gaming millionaire Richard Skelhorn (pictured), accidentally ploughed into Mr Barrowman's boat as he was turning round to head for home. An MAIB investigation found the skipper had cannabis in his bloodstream

The French skipper of the second superyacht called Vision which was chartered by British internet gaming millionaire Richard Skelhorn (pictured), accidentally ploughed into Mr Barrowman’s boat as he was turning round to head for home. An MAIB investigation found the skipper had cannabis in his bloodstream

The bust-up between Mr Lynton-Jones and Lady Mone reportedly happened in a group WhatsApp chat on June 13, 2019, after she allegedly questioned how much his partner had suffered psychologically after the accident.

Mr Lynton Jones who is believed to have a mother of Indian heritage and a white father, and works in Monaco as a financial consultant, replied that his partner had been seriously traumatised by the yacht incident, saying: ‘I would prefer you back the f**k off’.

According to screenshots seen by The Guardian, Lady Mone is said to have replied: ‘OMG what a pile of crap!! You are talking to me, a smart, bright individual who doesn’t get taken in by your shit!

‘In fact my bullshit detector was on you from day 1. You & your mental loony of a girlfriend have been parting [sic] like mad! … You need to get a grip and have respect for a guy that was killed!!!

‘Funny how your mad girlfriend has now deleted all the pictures, don’t worry I have screenshots of the dates and times. 48 hours after the guy was killed. Your [sic] a low life, a waste of a mans [sic] white skin so don’t give us your lies. Your [sic] a total disgrace.’

The bust-up happened after Mr Lynton-Jones, 42, was among guests on a superyacht who met up with Lady Mone and her businessman husband Douglas Barrowman who were with friends and relatives on his 88ft yacht called Minx

The bust-up happened after Mr Lynton-Jones, 42, was among guests on a superyacht who met up with Lady Mone and her businessman husband Douglas Barrowman who were with friends and relatives on his 88ft yacht called Minx

She is said to have added: ‘Now you deal with the police enquiries including your nut case bird.’

He is said to have replied: ‘A waste of a white mans skin? Did not know you were racist, Michelle.’ Fifteen minutes later, Lady Mone allegedly wrote back: ‘Your [sic] blocked and take your mental case to the police station.’

Mr Lynton-Jones is said to have made an official complaint in August this year to Martin Jelley, the House of Lords commissioner for standards about the alleged messages, claiming they were ‘derogatory and racist’ towards him and ‘abusive and derogatory’ towards his partner’s mental health.

But the commissioner declined to investigate because the alleged messages were not sent in the course of Lady Mone’s parliamentary duties.  

Her lawyers this week since issued a statement, saying she no longer had access to the relevant messages and had no ‘detailed memory of them.’ 

A report into the fatal accident which was published by the UK’s Marine Accidents Investigation Branch in January this year, revealed details of how the passengers on both superyachts had enjoyed a day out before the tragedy.

The report said that the Vision had left Monaco at noon and ‘proceeded to Île Sainte-Marguerite near Cannes, France, anchoring there about an hour later’.

Lawyers for the House of Lords member, pictured with her husband Douglas Barrowman, said she has no 'detailed memory' or 'access' to the messages and denied that she is a racist

Lawyers for the House of Lords member, pictured with her husband Douglas Barrowman, said she has no ‘detailed memory’ or ‘access’ to the messages and denied that she is a racist

Damage to the 88ft-long superyacht Minx in May 2019 following the fatal crash off Monaco

Damage to the 88ft-long superyacht Minx in May 2019 following the fatal crash off Monaco

Michelle Mone is pictured last month as she celebrated her 50th birthday

Michelle Mone is pictured last month as she celebrated her 50th birthday

It went on: ‘After anchoring, Vision’s guests were taken ashore to a restaurant for drinks and a meal. At about the same time, the motor yacht Minx departed its marina berth in Antibes, then proceeded to Villefranche-sur-Mer where the owner and his eight guests, also a group of family and friends, were embarked by tender.

How ‘Baroness Bra’ made her money

Lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone was born in 1971 and grew up in Glasgow’s East End, leaving school with no qualifications aged 15 before finding work as a model.

After running a sales and marketing team for the Labatt’s brewing firm, she decided to create a range of support bras after the idea came to her while wearing an uncomfortable bra during a dinner party.

Lady Mone founded MJM International with her then-husband Michael Mone in November 1996, and three years of research, design, and development resulted in the patented Ultimo bra.

In August 1999, a month after having her third child, she launched Ultimo at the Selfridges department store in London, which sold the pre-launch estimate of six weeks of stock within 24 hours.

The business grew rapidly and in 2010 she earned an OBE from the Queen for her contribution to business.

But she sold 80 per cent of Ultimo in 2014, one year after announcing she had left the company following a breakdown in her marriage.

Lady Mone was nicknamed ‘Baroness Bra’ after being elevated to the House of Lords in 2015, where her official title is Baroness Mone of Mayfair.

To celebrate her 50th birthday last month, she decided to host five parties – one for each decade of her life – with her new husband billionaire tech tycoon Doug Barrowman, 55.

The pair married last November in a glitzy but low-key wedding ceremony at their home on the Isle of Man.

Lady Mone has also had a lucrative public speaking career but called time on this last month, saying she wanted to ‘focus on her family and new ventures’.  

‘Minx then headed to join Vision at Île Sainte-Marguerite, arriving about 1430. By about 1500, all the guests from both yachts were ashore at the restaurant; both crews remained on board the yachts.

‘During their meal, the guests agreed to continue the party back on board, and Vision’s charterer called the skipper and asked him to raft up with Minx. Vision’s skipper contacted Minx’s skipper and discussed the plan, then let out more anchor chain and manoeuvred the yacht alongside Minx.

‘By about 1830, everyone was back on board and the drinking and partying continued with most of the guests on board Vision. During the party, Vision’s skipper, encouraged by the guests, did a daring swallow-dive into the sea from the flybridge.

‘At about 2030, Vision’s crew started preparing to return to Monaco, so the guests

were all asked to return to their own yachts; it was still daylight with good visibility, light airs and the sea was calm.’

The report said that the Vision headed off to return to Monaco in daylight. But it was later realised that one of the guests from Minx had left a mobile phone on board Vision, so the vessel turned back so it could be returned.

Once the phone had been returned, the report said the French skipper of Vision motored 750m away before turning round and accelerating as he attempted ‘a fast slalom-type manoeuvre close down the port side of the anchored Minx’.

The 78 tonne boat began planing as its speed increased while rapidly approaching the Minx with the propellers of its twin engines creating a ‘rooster tail’ water spray.

But the boat failed to respond due to its high speed when the 42-year-old French skipper tried to steer to port at the last moment and the Vision collided with Minx’s bow, hitting Mr Feldware who was on his first day at sea. He is thought to have died instantly from serious head injuries.

Most of other crew and guests on the Minx were thrown to the deck by the impact and several suffered minor injuries.

French emergency services and maritime police rushed to the crash scene and both of the damaged yachts were escorted by police to marina berths at Cannes later in the evening,

Mr Lynton-Jones is said to have once briefly worked for one of Mr Barrowman’s companies, and was also known to Mr Skelhorn who was living in Monaco at the time.

A representative of Lady Mone initially reportedly told the Guardian this week: ‘Baroness Mone is 100% not a racist. Baroness Mone and her husband have built over 15 schools in Africa in the past three years.’

Her lawyers later provided another statement in which they said Lady Mone had ‘no access’ to the messages and no ‘detailed memory of them’.

The statement added: ‘She is not prepared to comment on the messages unless and until their authenticity has been confirmed but Baroness Mone, in any event, very strongly denies that she is a racist, a sexist or that she has a lack of respect for those persons genuinely suffering with mental health difficulties.’

It went on to say that it was ‘as illogical as it is inconceivable that she could or would have made such a comment or made it with the slightest racist intent’ as, at the time, she had no knowledge that the complainant ‘was anything other than white British, as his appearance is 100% white, with a cut-glass English accent’.

Her lawyers also questioned the motives of the complainant and cast doubt on the authenticity of the messages, suggesting they were ‘written in a manic way, in keeping with someone with coherency issues, rather than from a well-educated and articulate Baroness’.

In separate correspondence, they stated that she believed the complainant had ‘no trace whatsoever of non-white colouring or any features’ that would suggest he was not ‘100% white and British’.

Lady Mone who founded her Ultimo bra empire with her former husband was appointed to the House of Lords by David Cameron in 2015, a year after selling an 80% stake in her company.

She later headed a government review on entrepreneurship.

Minx (crash damage, left) is owned by Michelle Mone and her husband Douglas Barrowman

Minx (crash damage, left) is owned by Michelle Mone and her husband Douglas Barrowman

The MAIB report concluded: ‘The accident happened because Vision’s skipper underestimated the risks associated with the close pass manoeuvre.

‘Blood sample tests conducted the day after the accident indicated that Vision’s skipper was under the influence of cannabis, which was likely to have impaired his judgement.’

The skipper was found to have a Royal Yachting Association Yachtmaster certificate to operate powered boats, but had not endorsed it by taking a Professional Practices and Responsibility course as required under Small Commercial Vessel rules.

The report added: ‘The collision occurred because Vision’s skipper attempted an unsafe, close high-speed pass, then lost control immediately after turning directly towards Minx.

‘Minx’s crewman was on the foredeck and could do nothing to avoid being struck and was killed instantly by the force of the impact.

‘As professional seafarers in a commercial environment, motor yacht skippers have a duty of care to the guests, the vessel, their crew and other water users.

‘In the motor yacht industry, owners and charterers are on vacation; they will want to relax, be pampered and party, but they might also want to be entertained, perhaps even thrilled, by the experience of being at sea for their leisure.

‘In this environment, motor yacht skippers and crew must stay in control of the yacht and not allow themselves to get caught up in the party atmosphere.

The report added: ‘Cannabis is a central nervous system depressant, which can significantly impair the execution of tasks.

The superyachts Minx and Vision are pictured anchored together off Cannes before the crash

The superyachts Minx and Vision are pictured anchored together off Cannes before the crash

‘The effects of cannabis use can be similar to alcohol, including reduced reaction times, lack of co- ordination and difficulty with complex or skilled tasks requiring divided attention such as driving.’

Mr Feldware from Midhurst, West Sussex, had only arrived in the south of France four weeks before the tragedy, having just completed a basic boat training course.

He posted a smiling selfie from Monaco Port on social media after he arrived, writing: ‘Only gone and made it to Monaco. Let the adventure begin!’

Hours before his death, he posted more pictures on Instagram of the Cannes shoreline from Île Sainte-Marguerite, a notorious spot for yacht parties, with the caption: ‘Not a bad day to be out on the sea. #Cannes #LoveIt.’

Lady Mone, who sold her lingerie company Ultimo in 2014, was sworn in as a life peer by then Prime Minister David Cameron in the House of Lords in 2015. 


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