Eleanor Williams sparked an inferno in the Cumbrian town of Barrow-in-Furness with a 2020 Facebook post claiming she was the victim of rape and sexual trafficking. 

Sharing pictures of her battered body, the 19-year-old said she had been abused by an Asian grooming gang ‘for years’ – igniting a tinderbox that would have hideous repercussions both for her victims and the town itself. 

While she’s since been exposed as a fantasist, Williams’ claims would see three of her victims attempt suicide, one man abandoned by his wife, and a journalist forced to flee Cumbria with her daughter after threats from far-right thugs.

Amid heightened racial tensions, EDL founder Tommy Robinson descended on the town to hold a protest, a curry house had its windows smashed and a Muslim takeaway owner was chased down the street by men who poured alcohol on his head.

Today, Williams was jailed for eight and a half years after being found guilty of eight counts of perverting the course of justice. 

Williams

Williams with her self-inflicted injuries

Eleanor Williams, 22, (left, in a social media photo; and right, with her self-inflicted injuries) was found guilty of perverting the course of justice earlier this year

A protest in Barrow attended by EDL founder Tommy Robinson in the wake of Williams' false allegations

A protest in Barrow attended by EDL founder Tommy Robinson in the wake of Williams’ false allegations 

In sentencing remarks which were broadcast on television, Judge Robert Altham told Preston Crown Court she had shown ‘no significant signs of remorse’ and her motive for lying about being a rape victim remained unknown. 

Unsurprisingly, her original allegations were largely spread by social media – with a Justice For Ellie Facebook group gaining more than 100,000 followers. 

High profile figures with huge Twitter audiences also weighed in, including Countdown presenter Rachel Riley and Geordie Shore’s Holly Hagan-Blyth – both of whom MailOnline has contacted for comment. 

But her case gained particular traction among the far right, with Tommy Robinson attending a Justice For Ellie gathering in Hollywood Park. He was later arrested for an alleged assault but police took no further action.

Threats led to a reporter at Barrow’s The Mail newspaper having an anti-firebomb device fitted to her door, but this was not enough to protect her and she heeded police advice to leave the town temporarily. 

Overall, more than 150 extra crimes were recorded in the town amid the backlash – which police said was ‘nothing like we have ever seen before’. 

Fahsin Ahmed, who runs the Mithali Indian takeaway in Barrow – was forced to close his business after death threats left him fearing for the safety of his family and staff, The Mail reported

Mohammed Ramzan

Jordan Trengrove

Falsely accused: Mohammed Ramzan and Jordan Trengrove – who were both totally innocent 

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

English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson at another protest 

Williams’ tissue of lies included the claim that local business owner Mohammed Ramzan, 43, had groomed her from the age of 12, put her to work in brothels in Amsterdam, and sold her at an auction there.

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

Williams also gave police an account of being taken to Blackpool, where she said Mr Ramzan threatened her and she was taken to different addresses and forced to have sex with men.

But police made inquiries, they found she had travelled to the seaside resort alone and stayed in a hotel, where she bought a Pot Noodle from a nearby shop and then remained in her room watching YouTube on her phone.

They also found CCTV footage from a Tesco in Barrow showing her buying a hammer she would use to fake the injuries she claimed were caused by her abusers. 

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

The 22-year-old 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, having been detained after an unrelated argument by a taxi rank.  

Williams at a Tesco in Barrow buying a hammer that she later used to beat her own face

Williams at a Tesco in Barrow buying a hammer that she later used to beat her own face 

The fantasist was seen in a hotel in Blackpool at the same time she claimed she had been trafficked

The fantasist was seen in a hotel in Blackpool at the same time she claimed she had been trafficked 

On the evening of May 19, Williams had been reported missing by her family and was then seen by witnesses in a field near to her home.

She was subsequently found by officers with numerous injuries to her face and body and carrying a rucksack containing a bank card in her name.

Williams told officers she had been taken earlier that day in a silver Audi to an address in Barrow where she was raped by Asian men. She told officers the cuts she had received were from a knife used by one of her attackers.

However, thorough enquiries found no evidence to corroborate Williams’ account. The evidence instead pointed to her injuries being self-inflicted.

Officers located the address Williams reported the attack to have occurred. It was found to have been empty for two years and neighbours said they had never known of anyone of Asian origin either living at the address or coming or going from it.

Comprehensive CCTV checks were made, including of the Barrow town centre area. No sightings were found showing Williams or the silver Audi she told officers had been used to take her to the address.

A search was completed of the field where the first witness had seen Williams. With the help of a police dog, a bloodied black-handled, metal claw hammer was found.

Detectives worked to trace where the hammer had come from and found it was for sale at Tesco in Hindpool Road in Barrow. 

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

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

Detectives visited the store and found that the last purchase of such a hammer had been made on May 11 by debit card. 

CCTV footage was checked and clearly showed Williams purchasing the hammer herself. 

The card used for the purchase was the same card, in Williams’ name, found in her rucksack on the night of May 19.  

Williams was interviewed again and initially gave the same account she had first made to officers. 

However, when officers put the inconsistencies in her account to her, Williams gave ‘no comment’ responses to all questions asked. 

During the interview there were a total of 74 direct challenges to her account but all received a ‘no comment’ response.

Other allegations of rape and sexual assault were also found to be baseless. In some instances she had deliberately fabricated evidence, including creating a Snapchat account purporting to be in the name of a man she had accused of raping her. 

However, detectives were able to show that the account was fake and had in fact been created at Williams’ home address.

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

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

On another occasion, Williams had alleged that she was told by traffickers to travel to Blackpool. 

She told officers that she was taken to numerous addresses across Blackpool in one night to have sex with different men.

Detectives investigated and found that Williams arrived in Blackpool, checked into a hotel and left briefly, once, to buy chocolate from the local Co-op and milk and a Pot Noodle from the local Spar shop.

She was back inside her hotel room by 9.40pm and didn’t leave the room again until 10.40am the following morning.

When the extensive evidence of inconsistencies in Williams’ story were put to her, she admitted she had lied to officers.

Williams had also alleged that she was trafficked to Amsterdam where she was made to work in a brothel and was to be sold at an auction for €25,000.  

She told officers a man had paid the deposit for her but had not come up with the full amount so she was allowed to return home.

Her post, made during the Covid lockdown in May 2020, was shared more than 100,000 times

Williams’ post, made during the Covid lockdown in May 2020, was shared more than 100,000 times 

When officers investigated this allegation, they found that she had travelled to Amsterdam with her sister and her sister’s boyfriend.

Both told officers that the three had never been apart on the trip, even sleeping in the same hotel room. They spent the trip together, visiting tourist attractions and walked through the Red Light district.

When this was put to Williams, she told officers she had snuck out of the hotel room at night and back into the room in the morning without waking her sister or her boyfriend.

During one interview with detectives, Williams told officers she had been trafficked to Ibiza with two other young women who were then made to have sex with different men. 

When officers told Williams they would be able to trace her on the flight manifest, she admitted he had lied.

Vile rape allegations Williams made against five men  

A woman who made false rape allegations against five men gave accounts of being trafficked in Ibiza and sold at auction in Amsterdam.

Eleanor Williams, 22, was jailed on Tuesday for perverting the course of justice after making claims including that she was the victim of an Asian grooming gang, operating in her hometown of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

Below are some of the lies Williams told.

The first claim

The first false allegation was made by Williams when she was 16.

Preston Crown Court heard she had been with others at Cameron Bibby’s house in November 2017 when she was sick after drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis.

Mr Bibby and his friends contacted Williams’ sister and mother, who came to collect her and later took her to hospital, where she alleged she had been raped.

Williams withdrew support from a prosecution in January 2018, after Mr Bibby had been arrested.

Injuries

In March 2019 Williams had been on a night out with Jordan Trengove when she was taken home after becoming intoxicated.

She would later allege Mr Trengove raped her that night, and then on two later occasions, claiming he came to her flat, attacked her and threatened her with a knife.

The court heard she did have injuries following the alleged attack.

Honorary Recorder of Preston Judge Robert Altham said: ‘She caused them to herself to support her allegations. As we will see this was to become a feature of her conduct.’

Trafficking

Williams claimed she had been groomed since the age of 12 or 13 by local business owner Mohammed Ramzan, who she falsely claimed took her across the region and persuaded her to have sex with other men.

She described punishment beatings, rape, a girl nearly dying as a result of a beating and another having a dog set on her.

Honorary Recorder of Preston Judge Robert Altham said: ‘This was a detailed account of the most serious sort of sex trafficking.’

Amsterdam

Williams told police she had been taken to Amsterdam by Mr Ramzan, forced to work in a brothel and sold at an auction for 25,000 Euros, but the buyer did not go through with the deal.

During the trial, Jonathan Sandiford KC compared the account to a scene from the Liam Neeson film Taken, in which an ex-Secret Service agent’s teenage daughter is abducted by human traffickers.

Preston Crown Court heard Williams had been in Amsterdam, but had shared a hotel room with her sister and sister’s boyfriend.

At the time Williams was in the Netherlands, Mr Ramzan’s bank card was being used at a B&Q in Barrow, police discovered.

Ibiza

Williams said she was taken to Ibiza by Mr Ramzan and made to have sex with men.

She admitted this was not true when officers suggested they check flight documents, but at trial she maintained the allegation.

Blackpool

When police investigated Williams’ account of being taken to addresses in Blackpool and forced to have sex with men, they found she had gone to the seaside resort alone and, after buying a Pot Noodle from a nearby shop, spent most of her time in her hotel room watching YouTube.

Preston

After a chance encounter with Oliver Gardner in Preston city centre, Williams initially claimed he was a trafficker who forced her to take cocaine, sold her to two Asian men and raped her.

Judge Altham said: ‘This was a complete fabrication, much of it would be disproved from CCTV.’

The hammer

In what the prosecution called her ‘finale event’, in May 2020 Williams was found by police with injuries including a swollen eye, cut finger and injuries to her legs and abdomen which were ‘too numerous to count’.

She would later post pictures of the injuries on Facebook with a description of being beaten, groomed and trafficked by Asian men.

But, evidence from a pathologist found the injuries were consistent with being caused to herself.

A hammer found at the scene had her DNA on and was identical to one she had purchased from Tesco earlier in the month.

Williams was convicted in January 2023 following a trial and was sentenced today to eight and-a half years in prison.     



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