'I was expecting a longer sentence': Mum of fantasist jailed for rape lies says she must 'accept' her daughter's crimes

14 March 2023, 15:14 | Updated: 15 March 2023, 02:15

Eleanor Williams, 22, falsely accused a number of men of rape
Eleanor Williams, 22, falsely accused a number of men of rape. Picture: Social Media/LBC
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The mother of a woman who lied about being raped, which led to three men attempting suicide, said she was "expecting a longer prison sentence" after her daughter was jailed for eight-and-a-half years.

Eleanor Williams posted graphic photos of self-inflicted injuries alongside false claims that she had been beaten, trafficked and raped by an Asian grooming gang.

She was jailed today at Preston Crown Court after being previously convicted of nine counts of perverting the course of justice.

Allison Johnston, Williams' mum, speaking to LBC, said she expected her daughter would be jailed - but for longer than the eight-and-a-half year prison sentence she was handed. She said the judge "has been really fair".

Read More: Serial fantasist who lied about Asian grooming gangs and faked rape injuries with a hammer jailed

"I was just expecting a longer prison sentence for Ellie," Ms Johnston said. "I think the judge has been really fair in taking into account her age and her vulnerabilities."

Asked about how she felt during her daughter's sentencing, Williams' mum said it was "really hard to listen to".

Mother of Eleanor Williams speaks out after daughter's sentencing

"As a mother it's really difficult to accept that she is responsible for all the things that he said. But in the eyes of the law I've got to accept that."

She added that her thoughts are now with her daughter and "getting her through the next couple of months and supporting her".

"That's where I'll be, as her mother, doing that," she added.

Williams, 22, made up names and doctored messages on her phone to make it appear she had been a victim of trafficking.

She admitted she lied about being trafficked to Ibiza and also admitted she lied about being sold as a sex slave in Amsterdam - when in fact she was on holiday with her sister.

The judge acknowledged she had been through difficulties in her childhood and had been self-harming from a young age but had shown no ‘significant’ sign of remorse.

The "only flicker of appreciation of what she has done came today" when she read a letter apologising for her Facebook post, said judge Robert Altham.

The judge said there was 'no explanation' as to why she would have committed the offences.

He said: “There is a risk that genuine victims [of sex crimes] will as a result of this defendant's actions feel deterred from reporting it.”

Eleanor Williams' trial was told she inflicted injuries on herself with a hammer she had bought from Tesco
Eleanor Williams' trial was told she inflicted injuries on herself with a hammer she had bought from Tesco. Picture: Social Media

The allegations she made on Facebook led to protests in her hometown of Barrow-in-Furness.

In January of this year, a jury at Preston Crown Court found her guilty of eight counts of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.

She pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to one count of perverting the course of justice, which related to contacting her sister and mother with requests for them to take a hammer to her solicitor.

Her Facebook post sparked demonstrations in her home town of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, and led to former English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson visiting the town to "investigate" the claims.

Read More: Transgender predator released from prison following child sex offences convicted of raping 'vulnerable' friend weeks later

Read more: PCSO who filmed children in swimming pool changing rooms and engaged in sex acts with girls online jailed

Williams accused a number of men of rape, going back to 2017, and told police she was groomed and trafficked by an Asian gang.

On May 19 2020, she was found by officers near her home on Walney Island with injuries which she claimed were inflicted by the gang after she was taken to a house in the town and raped.

But Williams caused the injuries to herself with a hammer, which was found with her blood on close by.

Eleanor Williams gave herself her injuries as part of her fictitious story
Eleanor Williams gave herself her injuries as part of her fictitious story. Picture: Social Media

She also sent messages to herself, making them appear as if they were from traffickers or fellow victims, and in other cases manipulated real people to send messages which she then said were from her abusers.

The jury was told some of the people she made allegations about were real, while others, the prosecution claimed, did not exist.

During her evidence, Williams denied telling a "pack of lies" to the police and the jury.

Asked about her Facebook post, she said: "I wanted people to know what was going on in Barrow, still is going on."

Three men tried to take their own lives as the result of her lies.

Mohammed Ramzan, a business owner who was accused of grooming Williams, told the court his life had been made "hell on earth" by the allegations.

Mr Ramzan, who was in tears as he spoke from the witness box, said two weeks after he was arrested following Williams' claims he attempted to take his own life.

He said: "I still bear the scars to this day." Mr Ramzan said his property had been damaged and his businesses had been "ruined" after he and his family were targeted "in the most horrendous way".

He said: "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."

In a statement read to the court, Jordan Trengove said the word "rapist" had been spray painted across his house and his window was smashed after Williams accused him of raping and attacking her.

He said he spent 73 days in prison, sharing a cell with a convicted sex offender, after he was charged as a result of her claims.

Williams posted her fictitious account to Facebook
Williams posted her fictitious account to Facebook. Picture: Social Media

He said: "Things had calmed down a bit until the Facebook post in 2020."This made things even worse for me. There were big protests and marches in Barrow."

The lowest point was when I tried to end my life in August 2020."

Oliver Gardner said his chance encounter with Williams in Preston led to him being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Mr Gardner, who was accused of rape after he met Williams in the city centre, said it was a "real shock" when he was contacted by Cumbria Police and told of her claims.

He said: "It was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time."In his statement, he said he tried to end his life before being sectioned.

He said: "This whole period in my life has been totally overwhelming."

Cameron Bibby, who was the first man accused of rape by Williams in 2017, said he had to remove himself from most social media because of abuse and was scared to pick his son up from nursery because of the way people looked at him.

He said after Williams posted her account on Facebook, his neighbours displayed "Justice for Ellie" stickers in their windows, which "intimidated" him.

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