LONDON: A British woman has been jailed for eight-and-a-half years after falsely claiming that she was the victim of an Asian grooming gang.
Eleanor Williams fabricated evidence to suggest that she was attacked by multiple Asian men, and her lies caused anger and protests in her local community of Barrow-in-Furness.
The 22-year-old was sentenced on Tuesday for perverting the course of justice.
Senior investigating officer for the case, Doug Marshall, told Sky News: “I’ve had cases where people have told lies, but never to this extent.”
If Williams had not been charged, “it just wouldn’t have stopped,” he added.
Three men who had been falsely accused by Williams said that they had attempted suicide as a result.
Mohammed Ramzan, who was accused of rape and trafficking by Williams, said that he tried to end his life two weeks after being arrested.
“I still bear the scars to this day,” he said.
Another of Williams’ victims, Jordan Trengove, said the word “rapist” had been sprayed on his house and that he, too, had attempted suicide.
A third man, Oliver Gardner, said that he was sectioned after trying to kill himself following Williams’ false claims against him.
Although four of the men Williams accused were white, Asian business owners were targeted after she posted pictures of her self-inflicted injuries on Facebook in May 2020.
The owners of two local Indian restaurants told Sky News they had bricks thrown through their windows and were spat at in the street. One said he lost 90 percent of business in the immediate aftermath of the claims.
As a result of Williams’ false claims, around 150 crimes were committed by others, police said.
Police said they initially began investigating the sexual abuse allegations, but then discovered that Williams had booked herself into a hotel at a time when she claimed she was being sold for sex in several properties in Blackpool.
She was seen checking in on CCTV, and phone records suggested that she stayed in the room watching videos, leaving only to buy food at a shop close by.
Williams also set up fake social media accounts to message herself so she could pretend that abusers were messaging her.