A woman accused of lying about being raped by multiple men and trafficked by an Asian grooming gang has pleaded guilty to one count of perverting the course of justice.
Eleanor Williams, 21, from Walney in Barrow-in-Furness, denies a further seven counts relating to rape claims she made about a series of men between October 2017 and May 2020.
A jury at Preston crown court has heard evidence from a forensic pathologist suggesting she self-inflicted multiple injuries with a hammer – injuries she blamed on an attack by Asian men in a widely shared Facebook post in May 2020.
On Monday the jury were told that Williams admitted sending a letter to her sister, Lucy, asking her to contact the solicitors dealing with her case.
In the letter, sent after she had already been charged with multiple counts of perverting the course of justice, she asked Lucy to say that a particular hammer had been found in her – Eleanor’s — bedroom at the family home. This hammer was different from one found by police covered in her blood in May 2020, which the prosecution say she bought herself 10 days earlier from Tesco.
She also asked Lucy to destroy the letter containing these instructions. Williams pleaded guilty to doing these acts, which amounted to perverting the course of justice.
Lucy did not destroy the letter and has previously given evidence for the prosecution, which cast doubt on her sister’s claims to have been sold to the highest bidder at a brothel in Amsterdam by a Barrow man called Mohammed Ramzan. Lucy told the jury that she and her boyfriend went on the trip to Amsterdam with Eleanor and that the trio shared a room, so would have noticed if her sister went missing.
The jury also heard that in May 2020 Williams sent messages to her then-boyfriend, Ryan Dickie, alleging horrific abuse she suffered from traffickers and abusers aged just 15.
In the messages, Williams described being locked in a caravan for two weeks, raped repeatedly and injected with heroin, resulting in her developing a heroin addiction. She said when she found out she was pregnant, she was taken for “a backstreet abortion” in an empty garage in Blackburn. She claimed police found her “with a needle sticking out of my arm” and that she had been beaten so badly she was taken to hospital with a “bleed on the brain” and put in an induced coma for two weeks.
None of this was substantiated in hospital or medical records, the jury heard, though words had been carved into Williams’ skin on occasion.
The jury also heard that one man Williams accused of being part of the sexual exploitation gang in Barrow appeared in fact to live in Seattle in the US. One of the other young women she named as a victim also lived in America.
The trial continues.
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