Serial fantasist whose rape lies caused three men to attempt suicide is jailed

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A serial fantasist who falsely accused five men of rape leading to three of them attempting suicide has been .

Eleanor Williams, 22, claimed she was raped, trafficked and beaten by several men in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

Her “pack of lies” led to protests in the town and attracted the attention of far-Right groups after Williams claimed the men were part of an Asian grooming gang.

Her victims' lives were made “hell on earth” by the false accusations and they attempted suicide after receiving death threats.

Williams has now been jailed for eight-and-a-half years after being convicted of nine counts of perverting the course of justice.

She will serve half the sentence in prison and the other half on licence once released.

Sentencing, Judge Robert Altham said there was “no explanation” for Williams' lies as he slammed her for showing “no significant sign of remorse”.

Preston Crown heard she accused the three men and others of attacking her in a Facebook post in May 2020 – sparking an “unprecedented outcry”.

Williams also shared photos of her injuries, which the fantasist did to herself using a hammer.

She claimed she had been groomed from the age of 12 and forced to attend parties across the North of England and in Ibiza.

Williams even said she had been sold as a slave at an auction in Amsterdam while on holiday with her sister as part of the extraordinary tale.

Her claims led to widespread outrage in Barrow and more than £20,000 was raised for a “Justice for Ellie” campaign.

There were also 151 extra crimes in the town following the social media post – including 83 hate crimes.

Far-Right group Patriotic Alternative, and Tommy Robinson, former leader of the English Defence League, were among those attending protests.

Business owner Mohammed Ramzan, who was one of the men Williams claimed attacked her, tried to take his own life two weeks after his arrest.

He told the court his home was damaged and business “ruined” after his family were targeted “in the most horrendous way”.

Mohammed added: “I still bear the scars to this day.”

Jordan Trengove had the word “rapist” spray-painted on his house and his windows were smashed as a result of Williams' claims.

He spent 73 days in prison and was forced to share a cell with a convicted sex offender after he was charged.

While Oliver Gardner was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after he also attempted suicide.

He had only met Williams during a chance encounter outside Preston Station when she asked him for a lighter.

She later claimed he raped her and sold her to a grooming gang in the town.

Oliver told the court: “This whole period in my life has been totally overwhelming.”

Cameron Bibby, who was the first man falsely accused of rape by Williams in 2017 when she was just 16, told how he was too scared to pick his son up from nursery.

He said after the claims were made, some of his own neighbours displayed “Justice for Ellie” stickers in their windows.

Cumbria Police investigated Williams' original claims but found no evidence to support them and she was arrested.

In one lie to officers, she said Mohammed had taken her to Blackpool where she was made to have sex with multiple men.

But on that date, Williams was seen on CCTV buying a Pot Noodle from a corner shop before checking into the Savoy Hotel in the seaside town.

While there, she watched BBC iPlayer and YouTube on her phone in her £58 room.

She also said Cameron had drugged and raped her at a party in 2017 and claimed she heard him hatching a plan to set a dog on her and dispose of her body at sea.

In reality, Williams – then aged 16 – had got so drunk that night he was forced to call her mum to collect her.

In a last-ditch attempt to paint herself as a victim, she shared the grooming post on Facebook saying she wanted to tell “her story”.

It was shared more than 100,000 times and received support from Maggie Oliver, who was instrumental in uncovering the Rochdale grooming scandal, and TV presenter Rachel Riley.

During her trial, jurors heard Williams lied not only about the sex attacks but also claims she had a child, was made to have a “backstreet abortion” and even that she had a heroin addiction.

She also made up names for “traffickers” that did not exist and sent messages from them to herself using a safety phone provided to her by a women's charity.

Williams even dragged other women into her web of lies, who later revealed they were not involved at all.

When asked why she injured herself with the claw hammer, which she bought in Tesco just days before sharing the post, she claimed: “I wouldn't buy a hammer to hurt myself, I'm not a psychopath.”

Louise Blackwell KC, defending Williams, said she “continues in her allegations against the various people in pretty much the same circumstances”.

In a letter to the court today, Williams said: “I know I've made some mistakes and I am sorry. I was young and confused.

“I'm not saying I am guilty but I know I have done some wrong and so I'm sorry.”

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