‘Fantasist’ woman, 22, who lied about being raped by an Asian grooming gang sparking national outrage faces sentencing at two-day hearing

  • Eleanor Williams claimed to have been abused by a gang in Barrow-in-Furness
  • It sparked demonstrations in the town and led to innocent people being targeted
  • She was later found guilty of eight counts of perverting the course of justice

A ‘fantasist’ who lied about being abused by an Asian grooming gang faces being sent to jail as her two-day sentencing hearing begins today.

Eleanor Williams, 22, posted pictures on Facebook claiming to show injuries sustained at the hands of a gang who had groomed, trafficked and beaten her. 

The post, made during the Covid lockdown in May 2020, was shared more than 100,000 times online and sparked national outrage, leading to demonstrations in her hometown of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

However, she was found to have made it up, with a jury at Preston Crown Court finding her guilty of eight counts of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice in January this year.

On Monday the first day of her two-day sentencing hearing will take place at the same court.

Eleanor Williams sparked national outrage when she posted pictured of injuries she claimed had been caused by an Asian grooming gang 

The 22-year-old faces being sent to prison and has a two-day sentencing hearing set to take place from today

Williams was 19 years old when she claimed on Facebook she had been raped and abused by a grooming gang operation in the coastal town of Barrow.

It sparked protests and led to former English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson visiting the town to ‘investigate’ the claims.

Williams’ trial, which began in October last year, heard she had accused a number of men of rape, going back to 2017, and told police she was groomed and trafficked by an Asian gang. 

On May 19 2020, she was found by officers near her home on Walney Island with injuries which she claimed were inflicted by the gang after she was taken to a house in the town and raped. 

But the prosecution claimed Williams caused the injuries to herself with a hammer, which was found with her blood on close by. 

It was alleged Williams sent some messages to herself, making them appear as if they were from traffickers or fellow victims, and in other cases manipulated real people to send messages which she then said were from her abusers. 

The jury was told some of the people she made allegations about were real, while others, the prosecution claimed, did not exist. 

Her false stories had a profound impact on her six victims. At least one man told media he felt suicidal after being tarnished by the lurid accusations.

Williams had falsely accused multiple people of abusing her, with a jury finding her guilty of eight counts of perverting the course of justice

It sparked protests and led to former English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson visiting the town to ‘investigate’ the claims 

These included claims that she had been drugged and raped by multiple people since she was 12 years old, and that she had been trafficked to places such as Ibiza and Amsterdam and abused by men there.

Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford KC compared the allegation with a scene from Liam Neeson film Taken, where the main character tracks down a human trafficking gang that had abducted his daughter.

Williams had claimed business owner Mohammed Ramzan had groomed her from the age of 12, and had put her to work at brothels in Amsterdam and sold her at an auction there.

But the court heard at the time she was in the Dutch capital, his bank card was being used at a B&Q in Barrow.

When confronted with evidence that she had been with her sister and her sister’s boyfriend the whole time she was in Amsterdam and the abuse could not have happened, Williams maintained her version of events was correct.

Restaurant owner Mohammed Ramzan, whom Williams claimed had groomed her from the age of 12, was arrested over her lies and said he and his family received more than 500 death threats.

He branded her ‘delusional’ and a ‘fantasist’ in court.

Amid heightened racial tensions one curry house had its windows smashed and a Muslim takeaway owner was chased down the street by men who poured alcohol on his head.

It also painted a target on the backs of the men she accused. One man saw his wife leave him over the claims, while another family were forced to move away from the town altogether.

Williams denied telling a ‘pack of lies’ to the police and the jury, saying: ‘I wanted people to know what was going on in Barrow, still is going on’

After an 11-week trial at Preston Crown Court, Williams was convicted of eight counts of perverting the course of justice 

On another occasion she accused a man of threatening to kill her unless she had sex with eight men in Blackpool, local newspaper The Mail reported.

But this was another fabrication, with CCTV showing she booked herself into a hotel and then stayed inside apart from a brief walk to the shops.

She accused another man, Jordan Trengove, of raping her – an allegation that led to him spending ten weeks on remand in prison.

He was finally cleared when police realised he had been in the back of one of their vans at the exact time he was supposed to have raped her – he had been arguing at a taxi rank when he was spotted by officers.

Evidence that she posted on social media, including messages from the men who were alleged to have abused her, were found to be misleading or outright false by police. 

During her evidence, Williams denied telling a ‘pack of lies’ to the police and the jury. 

Asked about her Facebook post, she said: ‘I wanted people to know what was going on in Barrow, still is going on.’

But the jury did not believe her, instead finding her guilty of making the claims up and causing her own injuries as part of a fantasy. 

She had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to one count of perverting the course of justice, which related to contacting her sister and mother with requests for them to take a hammer to her solicitor. 

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