CCTV footage exposes rape fantasist’s lies that tore her town apart

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CCTV footage of Ellie Williams – who falsely accused a group of Asian businessmen of rape – exposed her sickening lies that sent shockwaves through the internet. Williams shared images of her face battered and bruised along with an account of an alleged six-year ordeal in a sex trafficking gang on Facebook. She had accused a group of Asian businessmen of abusing and grooming her.

On the evening of May 19, Williams had been reported missing by her family and was then seen by witnesses in a field near to her home.

Williams told officers she had been taken earlier that day in a silver Audi to an address in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, and claimed she was raped by Asian men. She told officers the cuts she had received were from a knife used by one of her attackers.

Thorough enquiries found no evidence to corroborate Williams’ account. The evidence instead pointed to her injuries being self-inflicted.

No sightings were found showing Williams or the silver Audi she told officers had been used to take her to the address. A search was completed of the field where the first witness had seen Williams.

With the help of a police dog, a bloodied black-handled, metal claw hammer was found. Detectives worked to trace where the hammer had come from and found it was sold at Tesco in Hindpool Road in Barrow.

They visited the store and found the last purchase of such a hammer had been made on May 11 by debit card. CCTV footage was checked and clearly showed Williams purchasing the hammer herself. The card used for the purchase was the same card, in Williams’ name, found in her rucksack on the night of May 19.

Previously she had said the men raped and beat her if she didn’t go along with their wishes, and she was just one of many victims of these crimes. But what Williams had not revealed was she was at that time under investigation for perverting the course of justice.

She had only just been released on bail after an investigation found no substance to her claims of a grooming gang

Her Facebook post said nothing of this, though, and was shared more than 100,000 times and launched the campaign called ‘Justice for Ellie’. This led to homes and businesses in the town being targeted with hundreds taking to the streets to support her.

They targeted businesses run by Asian families and an extra 150 crimes were reported, many of which were racially motivated, following Williams’ claims. Police were accused of a cover up and the same accusations were thrown at the local newspaper when Williams’ arrest was reported on.

All the while the investigation was underway. She was subsequently found by officers with numerous injuries to her face and body and carrying a rucksack containing a bank card in her name.

Officers located the address Williams reported the attack to have occurred. It was found to have been empty for two years and neighbours said they had never known of anyone of Asian origin either living at the address or coming or going from it. Comprehensive CCTV checks were made, including of the Barrow town centre area.

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Williams stood by her story but Forensic Pathologist Dr Alison Armer was able to conclude the injuries to Williams’ face and body could not have been caused in the way she claimed. More likely, Dr Armer said, she had caused them herself.

Sentencing her to eight and a half years in prison, Judge Robert Altham said Williams showed no remorse. Why she made the claims remains unclear, as Williams has chosen not to tell the truth.

Dr Lucy Bacon, a forensic psychiatrist who has worked with Williams said there was evidence of some form of PTSD, and Williams had alluded to problems in her childhood but had not disclosed any detail. A second psychologist, Dr Martin Locke said there was no evidence she was suffering from any mental illness.

In a letter to the judge, Williams said: “I understand that it’s your job to believe the jury’s verdict and that’s OK. I know I have made some mistakes, I’m sorry. I know it’s no excuse but I was young and confused. I’m not saying I’m guilty but I know I have done wrong on some of this and I’m sorry. I’m devastated at the trouble that has been caused in Barrow, if I knew what consequences would have come from that status I never would have posted it.”

As details of her crimes, and the impact on her victims was recalled in court, Williams sat alone in the dock, wearing a black puffa jacket, with a blank expression on her face. She is now beginning an eight-and-a-half-year sentence for perverting the course of justice.

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