Woman accused of ‘pack of lies’ over sex trafficking claims | UK News
A 21-year-old woman is accused of concocting an elaborate “pack of lies” in order to convince police that she was the victim of a gang of sex traffickers in Barrow-in-Furness.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Eleanor Williams staged a trip to Blackpool and lied to police that she had been trafficked and raped in various houses by eight different men.
A trial at Preston Crown Court heard that this is one of many false rape allegations made against a number of men by Williams between 2017 and 2020.
Williams denies seven counts of perverting the course of justice.
Police had found Williams at Preston Railway Station after she went missing in early July 2019.
Jonathan Sandiford KC, prosecuting, said: “The defendant gave what can only be described as an horrific account of how she had been the victim of violence and sexual exploitation.”
Williams allegedly claimed that the men had threatened to kill her if she went to the police by throwing her into the sea. But the prosecutor told the jury the whole story was made up.
He said evidence would show she used Booking.com to book herself a room for two nights at the Savoy Hotel on the Promenade in Blackpool, and CCTV did not show her meeting men, but going to the shops to buy food before returning to her hotel.
In his opening remarks in the case, Mr Sandiford said instead of being sold for sex by traffickers, “the defendant was in her hotel room eating Pot Noodle and chocolate and watching YouTube and iPlayer on her mobile telephone while resolutely declining to answer any messages from her family and friends asking where she was.”
The court heard that Williams told police that she had been trafficked from the age of 12 or 13 and taken to parties where the men bidded to have sex with girls and that she was taken to Ibiza for two weeks and forced to have sex with men.
Jonathan Sandiford KC said: “When the officers pointed out that flight manifests could be checked, the defendant admitted that she had never been trafficked to Ibiza.”
The prosecution said it would also disprove claims that Williams was taken to Amsterdam and made to work in a brothel and that an attempt was made to sell her at auction.
Williams is also accused of setting up fake Snapchat accounts in the names of her alleged traffickers, some who were real people and others fictitious, and that she used a second mobile phone, given to her by a women’s help group for victims of abuse, to create conversations with an imaginary fellow victim.
The jury was told that phone mast records would show that while texts were exchanged, the two mobile phones were in the same place, even when the defendant travelled to Scotland to see her father.
In court on Tuesday, it was alleged that Williams had harmed herself with a hammer to make it look as if she’d been attacked by her abusers. On Wednesday, there were more details.
In May 2020 the defendant was discovered with severe injuries, described in court as a right eye that was purple and swollen shut, a finger with two cuts, one of which cut to the pulp, almost taking a chunk off it, and a shallow cut to her right ankle that was two inches long.
The police later recovered a hammer from the fields near to where she was found and it is clamed this was identical to the one Williams had purchased from Tesco ten days earlier.
The recovered hammer was extensively stained with blood, which, according to the prosecution, matched Williams’s DNA.
The jury was told that a Home Office pathologist examined photographs and medical notes about the injuries and, according to Mr Sandiford, the expert concluded that: “The injury to the little finger was not caused by a knife or blade but as consistent with a blow by the double pronged claw of a hammer of the type recovered.”
He said the pathologist found that “the injuries were consistent with multiple, self-inflicted hammer blows. The defendant has in a rather extreme act used the hammer to inflict the blows upon herself.”
Louise Blackwell KC, defending, said Ellie Williams’s case will be that “all the allegations she has made are true,” except in the case of the events in Blackpool where she will say she was instructed to go to Blackpool by her traffickers and to lie about what happened there.
Ms Blackwell added: “In all other respects the allegations she has made are true.”
The trial continues.