Woman Who Lied About Grooming Gang Guilty of Perverting Course of Justice

A 22-year-old woman from Barrow-in-Furness has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice by telling “malicious” lies about being trafficked by a gang of Asian men and making false allegations of rape against a number of white men.

Eleanor Williams, known as Ellie, sparked a global solidarity movement when she posted graphic images on Facebook, claiming she was beaten and raped by men who abused her while being taken to sexual “parties” in north-west England.

A post published on May 20, 2020, during the first Covid lockdown, prompted more than 100,000 people to join a Facebook group called Justice for Ellie. This led to a range of merchandise featuring a purple elephant, her favorite animal, and attracted a crowd that saw more than 1,000 people donate £22,000 to help her bring her abusers to justice.

This led to a series of incidents, including a far-right group gaining ground in Barrow, and a sharp rise in racism and Islamophobia. Curry House windows were smashed, favorite restaurants were boycotted, and a Muslim package owner was chased down the street by men who poured alcohol on his head. A local journalist covering the case had to leave Cumbria on police advice after receiving numerous death threats.

It also ruined the lives of people he falsely accused, spat on in the street, ostracized and called “paedos”. What Williams failed to mention in her viral Facebook post is that she has previously been accused of making false rape allegations against four men.

One of them, an 18-year-old man who went out with her and her friends, spent 10 weeks in remand until police could verify his alibi. They realized too late that she had been picked up in Barrow town center the same night he accused her of drugging and raping her and seen her arguing in the street. Jurors have seen body camera footage of Jordan Trengove in the back of a police van with another girl at the time he allegedly assaulted Williams.

She made two other allegations against Trengove, including false claims that he raped her at knifepoint, manipulating her social media posts to make it look like he was sending her Snapchat messages. bragging about rapes.

It took Cumbria Police a while to discover that the Snapchat account was created using an internet connection at the home of Williams’ mother, Allison Johnston, a local labor councillor, and that there were also several phones Williams used to create the fictitious network. of the attackers. created as joint sacrifices to confirm their lies.

The charges were dropped, but Trengove was found guilty in the court of public opinion and someone painted the word “rapist” on the outside of his house. Trengove, now 22, says he suffers from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his time in prison and would have killed himself in August 2021 if not for his father.

“He ruined my life,” Trengove said. “Before, I was a happy person. I always went out with my friends, I was never at home before that. Now I spend every day at home. I felt trapped in my own little prison ever since it went on. I don’t feel like I have a life anymore. »

Local businessman Mohammed Ramzan, also known as Mo Rammy, received more than 500 death threats after Williams accused him of being the leader of a barber gang. He claimed he took her to Amsterdam, where he sold her to the highest bidder in a brothel, and also to Ibiza, where he sold her and other girls to gangs of men.

Again, Williams mocked Ramzan by manipulating posts on social networks. But it didn’t take long for the police to realize that Ramza had an alibi for everything. Barrow was at B&Q when he had to auction it in Amsterdam. The passport file showed that he had never been to Ibiza.

Other innocent men have been introduced as traffickers: a random stranger she meets briefly in a Preston alley; A boy from Barrow had been drinking at her house. Others found themselves drawn into his web of deception when he started chatting with them online, then changed their names on his phone to make them look like Asian attackers.

The prosecution accused him of starting an Asian groom gang after watching the BBC drama Three Girls, which told the true story of girls who were sexually abused in Rochdale. According to them, he took the plot of the Amsterdam auction from the 2008 movie “Taken”. In the film, Liam Neeson plays a father who hunts down the sex traffickers who kidnapped his daughter.

Much of the initial public sympathy came from the photos Williams posted to show her injuries: black eyes, swollen lips, bruises and cuts all over her body, and a nearly amputated little finger at the end.

But a medical examiner who reviewed the photos concluded the wounds were self-inflicted, most likely with a hammer that police said was covered in Williams’ blood but no one else’s DNA. The jury was told that just days before publishing the Facebook post, Williams bought a claw hammer from Tesco.

Simon Fell, MP for Barrow and Furness, said the case had caused huge community tension in Barrow, with an increase in racist attacks on Asians and “informal surveillance operations” at Asian businesses.

“We have seen several bay windows installed in curry houses,” he said. “Doctors who work at a local hospital came to see me and were really worried about their safety and the safety of their children.

“I know a gentleman who runs a brothel, his wife left him and took his children because he was accused. It really affected people, real people, who have been in the community for years and years and years.

He said Williams’ misrepresentations had “fuelled” the far-right Patriotic Alternative group to launch a campaign in Cumbria.

A jury of six men and six women took just three and a half hours to unanimously find Williams guilty of eight counts of perverting the course of justice.

Wendy Lloyd, Chief Prosecutor of the North West Rape and Serious Sexual Offenses Unit, said: “The impact on those falsely accused has been devastating and this conviction now vindicates the men she accused of aggravated sexual abuse.

“Every one of Eleanor Williams’ accusations was thoroughly investigated until they were found to be completely and unquestionably false and made in bad faith.

“Such false accusations are very rare. This is unusual and it is important that victims of rape or sexual assault understand that they should not hesitate to report the crime to the police.

Williams will be sentenced on March 13 and 14.

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