A woman who claimed she had been the victim of an Asian grooming gang has been convicted of perverting the course of justice.
Eleanor Williams, 22, put pictures on Facebook and claimed she had been groomed, trafficked and beaten – but prosecutors said her injuries were self-inflicted with a hammer.
Her post was shared more than 100,000 times and led to demonstrations in her hometown and a visit by English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson to “investigate”.
A jury at Preston Crown Court today found her guilty of eight counts of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.
As well as claiming an Asian gang abused her, the court heard she had accused multiple men of rape going back to 2017.
Williams, from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, published the pictures in May 2020 after claiming she’d been taken to a house and raped.
However, prosecutors said the injuries were self-inflicted with a blood-stained hammer found by police at her home.
Jonathan Sandiford KC said it was the “finale” to a string of lies.
“The defendant goes online to her social media contacts and effectively finds random names on the internet she presents as being victims of trafficking or perpetrators,” he told the jury.
It was alleged she sent some social media messages to herself, making them appear as if they were from traffickers or other victims.
In other cases, she was accused of manipulating real people to send messages which she then said were from abusers.
A Snapchat account she said belonged to an Asian trafficker called Shaggy Wood in fact belonged to an Essex man who worked in Tesco, the trial heard.
Jurors were also told about Williams’ claims that businessman Mohammed Ramzan had groomed her from age 12, making her work in brothels in Amsterdam and even selling her at an auction in the city.
Prosecutors compared it to the storyline from Liam Neeson film Taken, but said that at the time she was in Amsterdam Mr Ramzan’s bank card was being used in B&Q in Barrow.
Mr Ramzan told Williams’ lawyer during questioning: “Don’t you think you have put my life through enough hell, or your client has?”
One man she accused of rape, Jordan Trengove, told the court the claims had ruined his life.
Williams denied telling a “pack of lies” and told the court she wanted “people to know what was going on in Barrow, still is going on”.
She pleaded guilty to one count of perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing, after contacting her mother and sister to ask them to take the hammer to her solicitor.
Williams will be sentenced in March.