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Barrow woman convicted of making false rape allegations

|News, Sexual offences

A young woman has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice after maliciously making false allegations of sexual abuse, violence and rape against men.

It is important to say from the outset that it is very rare that we prosecute someone for making false allegations. Malicious allegations such as these are extremely rare and multiple allegations against several men, rarer still. Victims of rape or sexual assault should never fear coming forward to report the crime to police.

Eleanor Williams, 22, of Barrow in Furness, was found guilty by a jury of eight offences at Preston Crown Court today after an 11-week trial. She admitted another offence of intending to pervert the course of justice at an earlier hearing. She will be sentenced on 14 March 2023.

She produced fabricated evidence to support her claims including fake Snapchat accounts and messages. She implicated a number of men who she knew and gave the police fictitious names of people who she said had subjected her to sexual abuse, violence and rape.

Wendy Lloyd, Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS North West’s rape and serious sexual offence unit said: “Eleanor Williams maliciously and persistently made false accusations against several men who had the misfortune of being acquainted with her.

“She knew what she was doing each time and made these false allegations intending that these men would be investigated, potentially prosecuted or even imprisoned as a result of her actions. One man was in prison on remand for over two months as a result of her accusations.

“The impact on those falsely accused has been devastating and this conviction now fully exonerates the men who she accused of serious sexual abuse.

“The police and CPS take allegations of sexual offending extremely seriously. Each of Eleanor Williams’s accusations were thoroughly investigated, until it became clear that they were completely and incontrovertibly untrue and made with malevolent intent.

“The CPS worked closely with Cumbria police to build a strong case to put before the jury. The web of lies Williams told began to unravel as evidence was produced including CCTV, linguistics experts, eyewitness accounts, mobile phone positioning data, medical reports and forensic evidence.

“False accusations of this kind are very rare. This has been an unusual case and it is important for victims of rape or sexual assault to understand that they should never fear coming forward to report the crime to police.

“The CPS will never prosecute somebody for perverting the course of justice simply because, for instance, there may be discrepancies in the evidence or because the victim chooses not to continue to support a case or if the prosecution stops the case, or if a jury finds the defendant not guilty.

“A prosecution will only be brought where there is clear evidence that allegations were provably false, maliciously made and that it is the public interest to do so.”

Malicious and fabricated lies

Williams fabricated evidence to suggest she had been drugged and raped. The police thoroughly investigated her claims and arrested a man in connection with her allegations but found no evidence to support Williams’ claims and established the Snapchat account information, she had given them, didn’t exist.

She went on to make allegations about a second man that she claimed had raped and assaulted her on three separate occasions. She produced messages purporting to be from the man confessing to what he had done. The investigation uncovered the fact that she had created a false Snapchat account and sent messages to herself using her home Wi-Fi.

Williams also told police that she had been in a sexual relationship with a different man since she was 12 or 13. She claimed that this man and others had trafficked her to various places both inside and outside of the UK and exploited her. Again, that was found to be untrue. She used a man’s Snapchat account, who she had shared intimate messages with and amended the contact information so it would appear the explicit images came from the man she had accused.

In July 2019 she provided another horrific account of sexual exploitation. She told officers she was forced to the Blackpool area, subjected to violence, threats to kill and she was forced to have sex with eight men. The investigation found she had booked herself into a hotel in Blackpool a couple of days before she travelled. CCTV then confirmed that she stayed in her hotel, apart from a brief walk to a nearby shop. The whole account was a complete fabrication.

Williams gave the police a list of other trafficked women. This too was a lie. None of the women spoken to by police had been involved in any kind of exploitation and some didn’t even know Williams.

She told officers she had been trafficked to Ibiza and made to have sex with men every night, the same had happened to her in Amsterdam. She later retracted her claims about Ibiza when told passenger lists could be checked. Her claims about Amsterdam were also found to be false. She travelled to Amsterdam with her sister and her sister’s boyfriend, and they had been together at all times. Even when challenged with this information, she still insisted her version was accurate.

On 18 July 2019 another man had the misfortune of meeting Eleanor Williams. The pair chatted and had some brief sexual contact. When Williams told the police about this male, she claimed he was one of the traffickers and that he had raped her, then sold her to two other males, who she was forced to have sex with.

In May 2020 she was located by the police after concerns for her safety were reported. When she was found, she had numerous injuries and told the police she had been to an address in Barrow with a number of males. She said she had been attacked with a knife and raped by three men.

Following an investigation, again this was found to be false. A hammer was recovered from the field near to where she was located, the hammer had her DNA on it and was in fact the hammer she had purchased a week before. Having considered her injuries, a pathologist confirmed they had not been caused by a knife but were consistent with being self-inflicted with a hammer.

Notes to editors

Eleanor Williams (DOB: 26/11/2000) was convicted of nine counts of perverting the course of justice:

- She was found guilty of eight counts of perverting the course of justice at Preston Crown Court on 3 January 2023.
- She admitted one count of perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing on 15 February 2022.

The anonymity Williams had as someone who had made a claim of sexual offences or rape was lifted at the start of the trial after the court heard legal arguments that, as the offences claimed were provably false, she was no longer eligible for the reporting restrictions.

The CPS has guidance for prosecutors considering charges of making false rape or domestic abuse allegations.  Very often such allegations are made by a person who is vulnerable or in the context of a relationship, often with a protracted and complicated history, all of which is bound to have a bearing on the issues in the case.

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