A British woman who falsely accused multiple men of rape and claimed to have been a victim of an Asian grooming gang was sentenced this week to eight and a half years in prison.
Eleanor Williams, 22, was convicted in January of perverting the course of justice after her claims of victimhood and the pictures she posted to Facebook allegedly showing injuries caused by the grooming gang were proven false, the Daily Mail reported. Williams had previously made false allegations of rape before posting photos of her alleged injuries in May 2020, during the COVID lockdown.
The photos sparked outrage and led to protests in her hometown of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in England.
During her two-day sentencing hearing, her victims described what life was like after Williams’ false accusations. One of her victims said his life became “hell on earth” after Williams made her allegations.
“I still bear the scars to this day,” the victim, a business owner, said through tears as he admitted to trying to take his own life after he was falsely accused.
The victim added that his property had been damaged and his businesses had been “ruined,” following the allegations.
“I have had countless death threats made over social media from people all over the world because of what they thought I was involved in,” he said.
Williams claimed that the man had groomed her since she was 12 years old and sent her to brothels in Amsterdam, where she was sold at auction. But bank records showed the man was in Barrow-in-Furness while Williams was in Amsterdam. Williams was also shown evidence that she was actually with her sister and her sister’s boyfriend the entire time she was in Amsterdam, casting further doubt on her claims.
Another victim told the court that the word “rapist” had been spray painted on his house and that his window was smashed after Williams’ allegations. That victim was arrested and spent 73 days in prison based on Williams’ false accusation. He also tried to kill himself.
A third man also said he tried to kill himself after Williams accused him of rape.
“This whole period in my life has been totally overwhelming,” he said.
The photos of Williams with bruises on her face and her eye swollen shut were alleged to have been self-inflicted with a hammer, Superintendent Matthew Pearman said in a statement, according to the Daily Mail. Williams had claimed she received the injuries after being taken to a home and raped by members of the grooming gang. Investigators, however, found a hammer in her own home with her blood on it.
She was also accused of sending Facebook messages to herself disguised as sex traffickers or other victims, and allegedly manipulated real people into sending her messages that she then claimed were from her attackers.
Prosecutors at trial said some of the men she accused were real, but others didn’t even exist.
Williams maintained her innocence throughout her trial, with her attorney Louise Blackwell saying she “continues in her allegations against the various people in pretty much the same circumstances.”