By Kayode Sanni-Arewa
A woman who falsely claimed she was the victim of an Asian grooming gang has been sentenced at Preston Crown Court.
Eleanor Williams, of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, 22, was sentenced at Preston Crown Court on 3 March after making a series of false rape allegations.
Williams published pictures of injuries and an account of being groomed, trafficked and beaten by Asian men, on Facebook in May 2020 in a post shared more than 100,000 times, but the court heard that she had caused the injuries herself with a hammer.
Asked about her Facebook post, she said: “I wanted people to know what was going on in Barrow, still is going on.”
The Facebook post sparked demonstrations in her home town of Barrow-in-Furness and led to former English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson visiting the town to “investigate” the claims.
In January, a jury at Preston Crown Court found Williams guilty of eight counts of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.
She pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to one count of perverting the course of justice, which related to contacting her sister and mother with requests for them to take a hammer to her solicitor
It was also alleged Williams sent herself some messages, making them appear as if they were from traffickers or fellow victims, and in other cases manipulated real people to send messages which she then said were from her abusers.
The jury was told some of the people she made allegations about were real, while others, did not exist.
Williams was jailed for 8.5 years for nine counts of perverting the course of justice after she claimed to have been the victim of an Asian grooming gang.
In the letter to the judge, Williams 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.”