Three innocent men tried to take their own lives after being falsely accused by a fantasist who claimed to be the victim of rapists and a gang of women, a court heard.
Eleanor Williams, 22, sparked hysteria in the town of Cumbria after she accused a number of men of raping her and posted a Facebook account in May 2020 claiming she was the victim of an Asian gang of women.
The allegations made by Williams, who was found guilty of perverting the course of justice earlier this year, led to protests in her home town of Barrow-in-Furness, attended by Tommy Robinson, Preston Crown Court heard on Monday.
“The allegations made my life hell on earth”
On the first day of her sentencing hearing, Mohammed Ramzan, a business owner who was falsely accused of looking after 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 stand, said that two weeks after he was arrested following Williams’ claims, he tried to take his own life.
He said, “I still carry the scars to this day.”
Mr Ramzan said his property was damaged and his business was “ruined” after he and his family were attacked “in the most horrific way”.
He said: “I’ve had countless death threats made on social media by people all over the world because of what they thought I was involved in.”
“I spent 73 days in prison”
In a statement read to the court, Jordan Trengove said the word “rapist” was spray-painted on his house and his window smashed after Williams falsely accused him of raping and assaulting 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 allegations.
He said: “Things calmed down a bit until the 2020 Facebook post.
“That made it even worse for me. There were large protests and marches in Barrow.
“The lowest point was when I tried to end my life in August 2020.”
“I tried to end my life before they split me up”
Oliver Gardner said his chance encounter with Williams in Preston led to him being split under the Mental Health Act.
Mr Gardner, who was falsely accused of rape after meeting Williams in the town centre, said it was a “real shock” when he was contacted by Cumbria Police and told of her allegations .
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 of my life was completely overwhelming.”
“I was afraid to pick up my son from kindergarten”
Cameron Bibby, who was the first man falsely accused of rape by Williams in 2017, said he had to remove himself from most social media because of the abuse and was afraid to pick up his son from daycare because of the way people they look at it.
He said that after Williams posted his account on Facebook, some of his neighbors displayed “Justice for Ellie” stickers on their windows, which “intimidated” him.
The court was shown videos of English Defense League founder Tommy Robinson attending protests at Hollywood Retail Park in Barrow in May 2020.
In a statement, Superintendent Matthew Pearman said after Williams’ Facebook post, in which she posted photos of injuries that prosecutors say she inflicted on herself with a hammer, there was an “unprecedented outcry on social media in the town of Barrow.”
He said: “Barrow had not seen such public displays of mass anger for over 30 years.”
151 crimes followed Williams’ fake Facebook post
The court heard there were 151 additional crimes, including 83 hate crimes, following the Facebook post.
Police Department Mark Webster said in a statement that some businesses closed and community members left their homes because of the protest.
Louise Blackwell KC, defending Williams, said: “Miss Williams continues to make allegations against different people in much the same circumstances.”
Williams, of Teesdale Road, Barrow, is expected to be sentenced on Tuesday for nine offenses of committing acts intended and intended to pervert the course of justice.