A woman in the north west of England who falsely claimed to be a victim of an Asian grooming gang has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for conspiring to distort the course of justice.
Eleanor Williams, 22, posted pictures of her so-called injuries and described being groomed, trafficked and beaten by gangs in the northern England town of Barrow-in-Furness.
The May 2020 post was shared over 100,000 times and the Facebook group Justice for Ellie was founded afterward.
However, Williams’ account turned out to be a complete fabrication. Those she accused were completely innocent and in some cases faced death threats and other abuses.
After she was imprisoned in Preston Criminal Court on Tuesday, businessman Mohamed Ramzan told the court, “I have received countless calls from people around the world via social media because they thought I was involved. I received death threats from
‘No signs of serious remorse’
Preston’s Honorary Recorder Judge Robert Ultham, who sentenced her, said, “It’s embarrassing to say the least that she shows no signs of remorse.”
He said her allegations were “totally fictional” and that her motives were “unless and until the defendant states why she told these lies. I don’t know,’ he said.
In January, Williams was found guilty of eight counts of tending to and intended to distort the course of justice.
She had already pleaded guilty to a ninth count of perversion of justice involving the hammer she had asked her mother and sister to take to Barrow’s attorney.
At the start of the trial, Arsam told jurors that her allegations had caused considerable racial tension in Barrow. It’s an isolated town, and it’s held in absolute secrecy.
Arsam said: As far as I can remember, it included at least one family member of hers moving out of the Barrow area and damaging various businesses. ”
Williams’ Facebook post, posted amid the first COVID-19 lockdown, with many people staying at home and devouring social media, said, “To help her and bring her abusers to justice. ‘ led to a crowdfunding appeal that raised £22,000.
“I’m not saying I’m guilty, but I’m sorry.”
Williams wrote to the judge after being found guilty, saying: I am devastated by what happened in Barrow. If I knew what the consequences of that condition would be, I wouldn’t have posted it.”
Her attorney, Louise Blackwell of Kentucky, said despite the jury’s verdict, her client still maintained the allegations were true, saying, “Other than her personal vulnerability and her age. There seems to be no motive at all,” he added.
Amy Fenton, then chief reporter for a Barrow local newspaper, had to leave town after receiving death threats following coverage of the incident.
After the verdict, Fenton told the Epoch Times:
“My life wasn’t the only one affected by these false allegations. I am just relieved that the truth has finally come out and justice has won.
Williams claimed that Ramzan was the mastermind behind the grooming gang and that he had taken her to Holland to sell her to a brothel.
Ramzan, who has proven she was at Barrow’s B&Q store when she was supposedly in Amsterdam, received 500 death threats in the wake of her post.
Another man she falsely accused, Jordan Trengove, made a statement to the court saying he spent 73 days in prison and shared a cell with a convicted sex offender after being charged as a result of Williams’ allegations. said. Before her Facebook post of hers.
he said: There were mass protests and marches in Barrow. The lowest point was in August 2020 when I tried to end my life. ”
‘Unprecedented protests on social media’
In a statement to the court on Monday, Superintendent Matthew Pearman said Williams’ Facebook post had sparked “unprecedented outcry on social media in the town of Barrow.”
“Barrow had never seen such a display of public outrage in over 30 years.
The Facebook post was followed by 151 additional crimes, many of which targeted people Williams falsely named as abusers.
Williams was found by police near her home on Walney Island on May 19, 2020, where she claimed she was inflicted by a gang after a violent rape. She then went on to accuse numerous men of rapes dating back to 2017.
But detectives investigating her allegations became suspicious, and at her trial, prosecutors said Williams injured herself with a hammer found in her bedroom.
Williams sent herself messages purporting to be from her abusers, and manipulated messages from real people to make it look like they were abusing and taunting her.
Some of the people she accused were entirely figments of her imagination, while others were randomly caught up in her allegations.
The court heard that a man from Essex who replied to her message on Snapchat mistook her for someone he knew from Portsmouth. .
The Epoch Times reached out to Meta, which owns Facebook, for comment.
PA Media contributed to this report.