Eleanor Williams sentencing: Three men tried to take their own lives over woman's rape lies, court hears
Three men tried to take their own lives after being falsely accused of rape, a court has heard.
Eleanor Williams accused the trio and others of attacking her and in May 2020 she posted on Facebook she was the victim of an Asian grooming gang, along with photos of injuries the prosecution claims were self-inflicted with a hammer.
The woman's allegations led to an "unprecedented outcry" and protests in her hometown of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in public displays of mass anger not seen there for more than 30 years, said police.
There were 151 extra crimes following the social media post, including 83 hate crimes, Preston Crown Court heard.
Some businesses shut and members of the community left their homes because of the outcry, the police added.
Williams, 22, is waiting to learn her fate at a sentencing hearing after being convicted of perverting the course of justice in January this year.
In court on Monday, business owner Mohammed Ramzan said the allegations against him had made his life "hell on earth".
'I still bear the scars'
He said he tried to take his life two weeks after being arrested over Williams' claims and added: "I still bear the scars to this day."
Mr Ramzan said he had "countless death threats" on social media from people "all over the world".
His property was damaged and his businesses were "ruined" after he and his family were targeted "in the most horrendous way", Mr Ramzan told the court.
Read more: How woman's lies and self-inflicted injuries unleashed hatred and death threats
Another man, Jordan Trengove, said: "The lowest point was when I tried to end my life in August 2020."
He said in a statement to the court that after Williams alleged he raped her, the word "rapist" was spray painted on his house and his window was smashed.
After he was charged, he said he spent 73 days in prison, sharing a cell with a convicted sex offender.
A third man, Oliver Gardner, said his chance encounter with Williams in Preston led to him being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Mr Gardner, who was accused of rape after he met Williams in the city centre, said it was a "real shock" when he was contacted by police and told of her claims.
He said: "It was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time."
In his statement, he said he tried to end his life before being sectioned. He added: "This whole period in my life has been totally overwhelming."
Defending Williams, Louise Blackwell KC said: "Miss Williams continues in her allegations against the various people in pretty much the same circumstances."
On Tuesday, the defendant is due to be sentenced for nine offences of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.