A woman from Walney who lied about suffering abuse and fabricated evidence has been jailed today (14 March) for nine counts of perverting the course of justice.
Eleanor Williams, 22, of Teasdale Road, Walney, was found guilty of eight counts of perverting the course of justice following a trial which concluded in January, having previously admitted one count.
The charges arose after Williams accused multiple men over a period of three years of raping and trafficking her.
The allegations resulted in a large-scale police investigation into crimes including human trafficking and child sex offences and the investigation resulted in men being arrested.
The most high-profile of the allegations Williams made was on 19 May 2020 - that she was taken in a car to an address in Barrow and raped by numerous Asian men, one of whom attacked her with a knife.
Williams, who was already on bail at this time having been charged with seven counts of perverting the course of justice, uploaded pictures to social media of serious injuries she had sustained to her face and body. The impact of the Facebook post was enormous and saw protests against the police in Barrow and beyond.
However, Williams’ story was untrue.
On the evening of 19 May, Williams had been reported missing by her family and was then seen by witnesses in a field near to her home. She was subsequently found by officers with numerous injuries to her face and body and carrying a rucksack containing a bank card in her name.
Williams told officers she had been taken earlier that day in a silver Audi to an address in Barrow where she was raped by Asian men. She told officers the cuts she had received were from a knife used by one of her attackers.
However, thorough enquiries found no evidence to corroborate Williams’ account. The evidence instead pointed to her injuries being self-inflicted.
Officers located the address Williams reported the attack to have occurred. It was found to have been empty for two years and neighbours said they had never known of anyone of Asian origin either living at the address or coming or going from it.
Comprehensive CCTV checks were made, including of the Barrow town centre area. No sightings were found showing Williams or the silver Audi she told officers had been used to take her to the address.
A search was completed of the field where the first witness had seen Williams. With the help of a police dog, a bloodied black-handled, metal claw hammer was found.
Detectives worked to trace where the hammer had come from and found it was for sale at Tesco in Hindpool Road in Barrow. Detectives visited the store and found that the last purchase of such a hammer had been made on 11 May by debit card. CCTV footage was checked and clearly showed Williams purchasing the hammer herself. The card used for the purchase was the same card, in Williams’ name, found in her rucksack on the night of 19 May.
Williams was interviewed again and initially gave the same account she had first made to officers. However, when officers put the inconsistencies in her account to her, Williams gave “no comment” responses to all questions asked. During the interview there was a total of 74 direct challenges to her account but all received a “no comment” response.
Other allegations of rape and sexual assault were also found to be baseless. In some instances she had deliberately fabricated evidence, including creating a Snapchat account purporting to be in the name of a man she had accused of raping her. However, Cumbria Police detectives were able to show that the account was fake and had in fact been created at Williams’ home address.
On another occasion, Williams had alleged that she was told by traffickers to travel to Blackpool. She told officers that she was taken to numerous addresses across Blackpool in one night to have sex with different men.
Detectives investigated and found that Williams arrived in Blackpool, checked into a hotel and left briefly, once, to buy chocolate from the local Co-op and milk and a Pot Noodle from the local Spar shop. She was back inside her hotel room by 9.40pm and didn’t leave the room again until 10.40am the following morning.
When the extensive evidence of inconsistencies in Williams’ story were put to her, she admitted she had lied to officers.
Williams had also alleged that she was trafficked to Amsterdam where she was made to work in a brothel and was to be sold at an auction for 25,000 Euros. She told officers a man had paid the deposit for her but had not come up with the full amount so she was allowed to return home.
When officers investigated this allegation, they found that she had travelled to Amsterdam with her sister and her sister’s boyfriend.
Both told officers that the three had never been apart on the trip, even sleeping in the same hotel room. They spent the trip together, visiting tourist attractions and walked through the Red Light district.
When this was put to Williams, she told officers she had snuck out of the hotel room at night and back into the room in the morning without waking her sister or her boyfriend.
During one interview with detectives, Williams told officers she had been trafficked to Ibiza with two other young women who were then made to have sex with different men. When officers told Williams they would be able to trace her on the flight manifest, she admitted he had lied.
Williams was convicted in January 2023 following a trial and was sentenced today (14 March) to eight-and-a-half years in prison.