A woman from the U.K. who falsely accused an “Asian grooming gang” of rape was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
Eleanor Williams, 22, claimed she was groomed, trafficked and beaten in a Facebook post in May 2020.
The post, which included photos and was shared more than 100,000 times, prompted Tommy Robinson, the founder of anti-immigration group English Defence League, to visit her hometown of Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria to "investigate" her claims.
Williams had also previously accused multiple men of rape as early as 2017, including 22-year-old Jordan Trengove, who was falsely imprisoned in 2019.
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On Tuesday, a jury at Preston Crown Court found Williams guilty of eight counts of acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.
According to prosecutors, the photos of the injuries that Williams had posted on social media were self-inflicted with a hammer that police had recovered at her home.
Williams was accused of sending messages to herself and making them appear as if they were sent by traffickers or other victims. She would also pressure real people to send messages to her, which she would then claim to be from her abusers.
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“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,” prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford KC reportedly told the jury.
Although Williams denied telling a “pack of lies” to the jury, she pleaded guilty to one count of perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing for asking her mother and sister to bring the hammer to her solicitor.
Williams is set to be sentenced in March.
Trengove recalled the night out with Williams in March 2019 that changed his life forever.
Trengove was arrested for drugging and raping Williams. He spent his 19th birthday in prison before he was freed.
Although he was not explicitly named in Williams’ “Asian grooming gang” accusations, Trengrove, who is white, had his name linked to the case by Facebook users. A rally of protestors reportedly organized in the town where Trengove lives with banners that read “Justice for Ellie.”
“I went downhill,” Trengove told The Guardian. “I tried killing myself over it. I tried running away from it all. I tried ending my relationship, walking away from my family. The amount of problems put on my life just from one [Facebook] post is ridiculous. Because I’m autistic, it’s even harder. I got diagnosed with complex PTSD because of it all.”
“Ever since this went on I feel like I’ve been trapped in my own little prison,” he added. “I don’t feel like I have a life any more.”
Trengove, who became a father in August 2021, was in court on Tuesday to witness the jury finding Williams guilty.
“I’m over the moon,” Trengove said. “I’ve got my life back.”