Woman who made Asian grooming gang claims found guilty of perverting the course of justice

Eleanor Williams will be sentenced in March. Credit: MEN Syndication

A woman who claimed she was the victim of an Asian grooming gang has been convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Eleanor Williams, 22, published pictures of her injuries and an account of being groomed, trafficked and beaten, on Facebook in May 2020, in a post which was shared more than 100,000 times.

The post led to demonstrations in her town of Barrow-in-Furness, with English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson visiting in the wake of the allegations.

One family is said to have moved out of the Barrow area after Williams made her allegations.

Now, the men who were falsely accused by Williams say the claims have ruined their lives.

A jury at Preston Crown Court found Williams guilty of eight counts of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.

Jurors took three hours and 29 minutes to reach their verdicts following the 10-week trial.

Williams, of Teasdale Road, Barrow, stared straight ahead as the verdicts were returned.

The verdict was handed down at Preston Crown Court Credit: MEN Syndication

She 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.

Williams' trial, which began in October 2022, 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 19 May 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.

Jonathan Sandiford KC, prosecuting, said the incident was a "finale" to a series of false allegations made by Williams.

In his closing speech, he told the jury: "The defendant goes online to her social media contacts and effectively finds random names on the internet she presents as being victims of trafficking or perpetrators."

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.

The court heard a Snapchat account which Williams claimed belonged to an Asian trafficker called Shaggy Wood was the account of a man called Liam Wood, who lived in Essex, worked in Tesco, and believed Williams to be a friend who lived in Portsmouth and was planning to visit him.

During the trial the jury heard evidence from business owner Mohammed Ramzan, who Williams claimed had groomed her from the age of 12.

Under cross-examination, Mr Ramzan asked Louise Blackwell KC, defending: "Don't you think you have put my life through enough hell, or your client has?"

In what Mr Sandiford compared with a scene from Liam Neeson film Taken, Williams claimed Mr Ramzan 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 Amsterdam, his bank card was being used at a B&Q in Barrow.

Another man accused of rape by Williams, Jordan Trengove, told the court: "It can ruin your life and it has ruined mine."

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."

The 22-year-old will be sentenced in March.

Wendy Lloyd, Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS North West’s rape and serious sexual offence unit said: “Eleanor Williams maliciously and persistently made false accusations against several men who had the misfortune of being acquainted with her.

“She knew what she was doing each time and made these false allegations intending that these men would be investigated, potentially prosecuted or even imprisoned as a result of her actions.

"One man was in prison on remand for over two months as a result of her accusations.

“The impact on those falsely accused has been devastating and this conviction now fully exonerates the men who she accused of serious sexual abuse.

“The police and CPS take allegations of sexual offending extremely seriously. Each of Eleanor Williams’s accusations were thoroughly investigated, until it became clear that they were completely and incontrovertibly untrue and made with malevolent intent.