Fake Victim: Woman Found Guilty of Lying About "Grooming Gangs"

Eleanor Williams, a 22-year-old woman from Barrow-in-Furness, northwest of England, was arrested for making false rape allegations against a series of white men and fabricating stories about being trafficked by an Asian grooming gang.

Also known as Ellie, Williams triggered a solidarity movement in Cumbria and worldwide when she made a Facebook post in May 2020 claiming to have been abducted, beaten, and raped by a series of men and then taken into sex “parties” in the northwest of England.

The post showed photographs of Ellie carrying a series of injuries on her face, legs, stomach, and private parts of her body. The post also contained a caption about how three Asian men abducted and raped her and how she was beaten for not attending an unspecified “party” by some “organizers” as a way to teach her a lesson.

Her Facebook post created sympathy for her ordeal and urged other netizens to create a Facebook group called Justice for Ellie, demanding justice for her. The movement even made merchandise featuring a logo of her favorite animal, a purple elephant, plastered on cups, t-shirts, and even houses.

It also led to other young women surfacing and telling their stories of sexual abuse, creating a sister movement called Justice for the Girls. A local Essex councilor even made crowdfunding for Ellie, raising about 22,000 British pounds in donations. She also earned allies such as Maggie Oliver, a former police officer in Greater Manchester who became a whistleblower about the abuse in Rochdale.

However, it also provoked a series of events that not only saw the rise of anti-Muslim and anti-Asian sentiment in Barrow but also led to the rise of a far-right group called Patriotic Alternative in her town. The group not only gained a foothold in a town and campaigned against immigration but also created an atmosphere of hostility and insecurity against the town’s Asian minority.

Ellie’s post also ruined the lives of the white and Asian men she accused of raping and beating her. Before she made her post in 2020, she was already charged with making false rape allegations against a series of white men she met, including 22-year-old Jordan Trengove, whom she repeatedly accused of raping and threatening her. According to Trengove, her accusations ruined his life, and he considered taking his own life had he not been a father in 2021.

Another man whose life was ruined by William’s false stories of rape was Mohammed Ramzan, a British Asian businessman known as Mo Rammy. He received 500 death threats, and his business and family suffered immensely because of the accusations. Things got so bad that he was forced to leave Barrow, and his son dropped out of college due to the bullying.

Initially, the public poured their sympathy for Ellie due to the graphic photos depicting the injuries she sustained from her “perpetrators.” But as investigators began to dig deep into her allegations, they were surprised to find that most of them were false and even fabricated with malicious intent. For instance, one of the forensic investigators found that Ellie’s injuries were self-inflicted, probably with a claw hammer.

Ramzan appeared in Ellie’s trial, where he and a group of young women testified against her. Ellie is scheduled to be sentenced in March. Nevertheless, a senior crown prosecutor explained that false accusations of rape are very rare and Ellie’s case shouldn’t dissuade victims of sexual abuse from reporting the crime to the police.

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