LONDON: A woman who claimed to be the victim of an Asian grooming gang in the UK was on Tuesday found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
Eleanor Williams, 22, claimed she had been groomed, trafficked, and beaten — posting pictures on Facebook — but prosecutors said her injuries were self-inflicted with a hammer.
A Facebook post she published was shared more than 100,000 times and led to demonstrations in her hometown of Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, and a visit by English Defense League founder Tommy Robinson to “investigate,” Sky News reported.
A jury at Preston Crown Court found her guilty of eight counts of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.
In addition to claiming an Asian gang abused her, Williams had accused multiple men of rape, going back to 2017.
Williams published the pictures in May 2020 after claiming she had been taken to a house and raped, but prosecutors said the injuries were self-inflicted with a blood-stained hammer recovered by police at her home.
“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,” Jonathan Sandiford KC told the jury.
Williams reportedly sent social media messages to herself, claiming they were from traffickers or other victims, and is also believed to have pressured people into sending messages which she then said were from abusers.
A Snapchat account she claimed belonged to an Asian trafficker actually belonged to a man from Essex who worked in Tesco, the trial heard.
Jurors were also told about Williams’ claims that businessman Mohammed Ramzan had groomed her from the age of 12, making her work in brothels in Amsterdam and selling her at an auction in the city.
Prosecutors compared it to the storyline from the film “Taken” featuring Liam Neeson, and said that at the time she was in Amsterdam, Ramzan’s bank card was being used at a B&Q store in Barrow-in-Furness.
During questioning, Ramzan asked Williams’ lawyer: “Don’t you think you have put my life through enough hell, or your client has?”
Another man she accused of rape told the court the claims had ruined his life.
Williams denied telling 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 a previous hearing, after contacting her mother and sister to ask them to take the hammer to her solicitor.
Williams will be sentenced in March.