A young woman accused of lying and fabricating claims about being raped, “pimped out” and trafficked is telling the truth about almost everything, her barrister has said.
Eleanor Williams, 21, from Walney in Barrow-in-Furness, denies seven counts of perverting the course of justice. She is accused of making false allegations against four men and falsifying evidence, including injuring herself with a hammer, in order to frame them for rapes and crimes they did not commit.
Summarising the defence case at Preston crown court on Wednesday, Louise Blackwell KC said: “Miss Williams’ case is that all the allegations she has made that you are looking at are true, with one exception.”
The jury was told that she accepts she lied about one incident over a three-year period, involving a trip to Blackpool and a man called Mohammed Ramzan, known as Rammi, who ran restaurants and takeaways in Barrow.
She gave police a detailed description of being trafficked to Blackpool by Ramzan and other men, the jury heard. There, she claimed, Ramzan was violent, threatening to throw her in the sea and drown her.
She claimed Ramzan told her that the next couple of days were “a test to see if she could be trusted not to do a runner or go to the police”, Jonathan Sandiford KC, prosecuting, told the jury.
“If she passed, they would forgive her. If she failed, she would be killed,” said Sandiford. She told police she was forced to have sex with eight men.
Detectives devoted considerable resources to investigating Williams’s claims, only to discover they were “a pack of lies from first to last”, said Sandiford. He told the jury that Williams booked herself into a hotel in Blackpool in advance of travelling there, using Booking.com. On arrival, she was not “pimped out” to men but went to a Spar and a Co-op and bought a Pot Noodle and chocolate, which she ate in her room while watching YouTube and BBC iPlayer on her phone, the jury heard.
Blackwell told the jury that Ramzan had instructed Williams to go to Blackpool and that he and other men then told her to lie about what happened there.
Earlier, the prosecution said Williams also made false claims about being trafficked to Ibiza by Ramzan when she was just 15, along with some other girls, where she claimed they were made to have sex with men every night for a fortnight.
When officers pointed out that flight records could be checked, “only then did she admit she had never been taken to Ibiza and exploited in the way she had claimed”, Sandiford told the jury.
Williams also told police in 2019 that Ramzan had suggested that she should go to Amsterdam, where she was put to work in a brothel. There, she told detectives, Ramzan sold her in an auction for €25,000. “But,” said Sandiford, “luckily for the defendant, the buyer … was not able to make the full payment or the deposit and so she was allowed to come home rather than being sold to some man in Amsterdam.”
But when police made inquiries they discovered that while Williams had indeed visited Amsterdam in November 2018, with her sister and her sister’s boyfriend, it was “something the defendant had wanted to do for her 18th birthday and had spoken about it for about two years before they booked it and went”.
In Amsterdam the trio stayed together at all times, the court heard.
After interviewing Ramzan under caution, police checked his alibi and found that his mobile telephone did not leave Barrow, let alone go to the Netherlands, and he was using his bank card in B&Q and to fill his car with petrol at Asda in Barrow.
The jurors were told that horrific injuries Williams sustained in May 2020 and posted photographs of on social media had been self-inflicted with a claw hammer she was seen on CCTV buying from Tesco eight days earlier.
A pathologist who examined the photographs found that “the nature and distribution of the bruises (noting there were none to the back of the body, none to the back of the head or right arm) was inconsistent with Miss Williams having been the victim of a violent assault”, said Sandiford.
Williams had told detectives that she was hurt after being taken to a house in Barrow, where there were “over 10 Asian males” and that she was raped by several men after being given a purple pill that she thought was ecstasy. “It was a complete fabrication from first to last,” said Sandiford.
The trial continues.