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Eleanor Williams and the Inevitable Exploitation of the 'Believe the Victims' Policy

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

Eleanor Williams injured herself with a claw hammer to support a false allegation of rape and sex trafficking.

'Under cross-examination, Mr Ramzan asked defence counsel: "Don't you think you have put my life through enough hell, or your client has?"

22 year-old Eleanor Williams of Barrow-in-Furness has been convicted of eight counts of perverting the course of justice. Williams claimed she had been raped and trafficked by an Asian grooming gang, but was herself found guilty at Preston Crown Court.

In May 2020, Williams posted photos on social media of injuries she said were from being beaten, but in fact she had injured herself in order to achieve the desired effect. The court heard that she had made the injuries herself with a claw hammer. Her post was shared more than 100,000 times, and caused potential vigilante outrage in her home town.

The court heard she also fabricated text messages from her alleged abusers. Williams had sent some messages to herself, but also sometimes manipulated others people into sending messages she then claimed were from the falsely accused.

A Snapchat account Williams claimed belonged to 'trafficker' Shaggy Wood was in fact found to be the account of a young man named Liam Wood. Mr Wood had believed Williams was a friend from Portsmouth who was planning to visit him.

Another Snapchat account of an alleged abuser was created at her mother's address. Jonathan Sandiford KC prosecuting said Williams had gone online to find random names to present as either victims or perpetrators of trafficking.

The injury photos subsequently went viral.

Williams said Mr Ramzan had made her work in brothels in Amsterdam and even sold her at an auction there. Williams had claimed Ramzan had groomed her since the age of 12. Under cross-examination, Mr Ramzan implored defence barrister Louise Blackwell KC: "Don't you think you have put my life through enough hell?"

Some of the people about whom she made allegations were real while others were not. 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. Judge Robert Altham adjourned sentencing to March.

While this case would have had a very distressing effect on Mr Ramazan, Mr Trengrove and other falsely accused, the mental health state of the false accuser can't be ignored. Anyone who will harm themselves in this way may possibly be driven by other forces than just financial greed.

It is also the logical and sad end point of the disastrous. transatlantic 'believe the victims' policy, bedevilling the justice systems of these afflicted countries over the last ten-plus years.

If the CPS plans to work with US for-profit company Soteria Solutions go ahead from this year, we can expect to see many more such near-abortions of justice - as far from being 'miscarriages, the authorities overseeing are well aware of what's happening.

Believing the claims of cynical, desperate, vengeful or mentally unwell people in an effort to garner positive, politically-motivated headlines or drive spurious conviction statistics up is arguably as cynical as making the allegations in the first place.

Maybe it should be the investigating officers, and those signing off these life-destroying investigations, who receive the scrutiny so often not afforded the likes of Eleanor Williams.

By Sean Bw Parker

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