Woman jailed for eight-and-a-half years after false grooming gang claims
A 22-year-old woman has been jailed for eight-and-a-half years after falsely claiming to have been the victim of an Asian grooming gang.
Eleanor Williams, of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, was sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday after making a series of false rape allegations.
In a Facebook post in May 2020, which was shared more than 100,000 times, she described being beaten, abused and trafficked by Asian men.
She also posted pictures of her injuries, but the court heard that she had caused them to herself, with a hammer.
In January, a jury found Williams guilty of eight counts of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.
She pleaded guilty to a ninth count at an earlier hearing.
In sentencing remarks which were broadcast on television, Honorary Recorder of Preston Judge Robert Altham said: “It is troubling to say the least that she shows no significant signs of remorse.”
He said there was no explanation for why the defendant made the allegations, which he described as “complete fiction”.
He added: “Unless and until the defendant chooses to say why she has told these lies we will not know.”
Williams looked straight ahead and thanked the judge after he sentenced her.
In statements read to the court on Monday, three of the men Williams had accused described attempts to take their own life following her allegations.
Mohammed Ramzan, a business owner who Williams alleged trafficked her, told the court: “I have had countless death threats made over social media from people all over the world because of what they thought I was involved in.”
Williams claimed Mr Ramzan, 43, had groomed her from the age of 12, put her to work in brothels in Amsterdam, and sold her at an auction there.
But the court heard that, at the time she was in the Netherlands, his bank card was being used at a B&Q in Barrow.
Williams also gave police an account of being taken to Blackpool, where she said Mr Ramzan threatened her and she was taken to different addresses and forced to have sex with men.
When police made inquiries, they found she had travelled to the seaside resort alone and stayed in a hotel, where she bought a Pot Noodle from a nearby shop and then remained in her room watching YouTube on her phone.
Superintendent Matthew Pearman, of Cumbria Police, said Williams’ allegations led to “public displays of mass anger” in Barrow, with protests held outside the police station and on a retail park.
Videos of English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson in the town were shown in court.
In a letter read to the court, Williams said she had not instigated anything which happened in the community and did not want Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, to come to the town.
She said: “I do not agree with his views or opinions.”
In the letter to the judge, she said: “I’m not saying I’m guilty but I know I have done wrong on some of this and I’m sorry.
“I’m devastated at the trouble that has been caused in Barrow, if I knew what consequences would have come from that status I never would have posted it.”
Louise Blackwell KC, defending Williams, said her client maintained the allegations were true.
She added: “Other than her personal vulnerabilities and her age there doesn’t appear to be any motivation at all.”