Mohammed Ramzan spoke to Granada Reports journalist Claire Hannah
A businessman accused of being part of a grooming gang says his life has been ruined and his family personally targeted following the false allegations.
Mohammed Ramzan was one of a number of men alleged to have groomed, trafficked and beaten 22-year-old Eleanor Williams in Barrow-in-Furness.
She claimed he had trafficked her since the age of 12, threatened to kill her and attempted to sell her abroad.
But Mr Ramzan was vindicated in court when Williams was found guilty of perverting the course of justice after a jury decided she had made-up the accusations.
Mr Ramzan said: "I'm feeling relieved. I feel like a massive weight has been lifted off me and my family.
"The accusations spiralled from drug dealer, to enabler, to trafficker, to rapist, to paedophile.
"It was horrendous. The accusations my ruined wife's interior business. It ruined my ice cream business.
"One of my son's had a mental breakdown."
The allegations surfaced after Williams posted pictures of her alleged injuries and an account of being groomed, trafficked and beaten on social media.
It was shared more than 100,000 times and led to demonstrations in the town.
The theory was also picked up by far-right activist Tommy Robinson who played on the fact that Mr Ramzan owned an ice cream van.
Mr Ramzan said he and his family began receiving abuse both online and in person.
He told ITV Granada Reports his reputation in the town has now been tarnished.
"I had total faith because I knew I was innocent," he said. "It was horrible to go through it and to be tarnished. I was a reputable businessman in this town.
"I fell in love with Barrow because it felt like old England. People that used to talk to me would look away.
"I had people saying they were going to burn my house down, rape my wife and chop my children up."
He said his wife Nicola and sons, aged 15 and 18, had to sleep with fire extinguishers and baseball bats for their safety.
One of his teenage sons was filmed and called a paedophile and a racial slur by someone in the town, he added.
Mr Ramzan was arrested on 7 July 2019 on suspicion of sexual exploitation, rape, human trafficking and sexual exploitation of a minor.
He was kept in custody for 40 hours following William's accusations.
During Williams' trial, Mr Ramzan said: "I couldn't look at her in court. The defence made me feel like I was on trial.
"No man should ever have to go through that."
Mr Ramzan says he now wants to see more regulation on social media to stop further harm being done to other individuals in the future.
He said: "I want to bring change to social media.
"The trolling, the fake accounts. The actual exploitation is on social media.
"How do we bring in regulation where social media is connected to your ID?"
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