Businessman was accused of running Asian grooming gang by woman who falsely claimed he ‘sold her for sex’ – but police found he’d been shopping at B&Q at the time
- Eleanor Williams lied about being raped and trafficked by grooming gang
- She accused businessman Mohammed Ramzan of running the group
- Mr Ramzan said claims caused him to consider taking his own life
- For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details
A businessman falsely accused of running an Asian grooming gang revealed he contemplated taking his own life after a 22-year-old woman made up a string of horrific rape and trafficking lies.
Serial liar Eleanor Williams posted graphic images on Facebook in May 2020 during the coronavirus lockdown of injuries she caused to herself alleging she was trafficked for sex abuse in Blackpool and Amsterdam.
A jury at Preston Crown Court found her guilty of eight counts of perverting the course of justice.
She claimed restaurateur Mohammed Ramzan, known as Mo Rammy, had trafficked her since the age of 12 and threatened to kill her – allegations which he always denied. He also denied having any contact with Williams, said he received hundreds of death threats and abuse from people as far away as the US, and self-harmed and considered taking his own life.
Eleanor Williams claimed she was abused by an Asian grooming gang in Barrow, Cumbria
She claimed restaurateur Mohammed Ramzan, known as Mo Rammy, had trafficked her since the age of 12 and threatened to kill her. Father-of-four Mr Ramzan denied ever having any contact with Williams and said he was abused by people as far away as the US, and told a jury he received 500 death threats
Mr Ramzan now has a CCTV camera beside his TV in Walney, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria and a court heard English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson turned up on his doorstep. The lies led to threats, intimidation and slurs, as well as damage to his home and vehicles.
Mr Ramzan said: ‘It absolutely ruined me to the point where I smashed a bottle on my head. I wanted to kill myself because of the damage it did. The reputation I’d made was ruined. My neighbours turned on me. People dropped me. I lived in hell.’
In July 2019, Mr Ramzan was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and investigated for three weeks but no charges were brought.
When the allegations became public in May 2020, Mr Ramzan said he received hundreds of threatening or abusive messages via Facebook.
He said: ‘It was like the whole world was against me – literally the whole world.’
Mr Ramzan was among five named men accused of being involved in rape or human trafficking by Williams.
She was found guilty of eight counts of perverting the course of justice, including two directly relating to Mr Ramzan.
Williams alleged Mr Ramzan had been involved in trafficking her to Amsterdam to be sold for sex in 2018 but cops found he had been shopping at B&Q on the dates in question. Williams claimed he was involved in trafficking her to ‘parties’ in Blackpool where she was forced to have sex with multiple men.
Preston Crown Court heard Williams later changed her story about Blackpool, telling police she had been told to lie by members of a grooming gang as a ‘test’.
Mr Ramzan said he was ‘absolutely ecstatic’ she was convicted.
After an 11-week trial at Preston Crown Court, Williams was convicted of eight counts of perverting the course of justice
The Asian grooming gang lies that sparked national outrage – click here to read more
He said: ‘The truth has come out. I’ve forgiven her for what she put my family through – otherwise I wouldn’t be able to carry on.’
The town’s MP Simon Fell said the allegations brought far-Right ‘vultures’ to the area and caused hatred and suspicion during lockdown.
He said: ‘I was relatively new to the job when the first email pinged in about Ellie Williams and the now infamous post that she’d put on Facebook. We were locked down. The streets were quiet, people were at home, keeping in touch with the world through social media.
‘The walk to my office in Cavendish Street was marked with posters of elephants with the hashtag £JusticeForEllie, and a similar banner hung across the A590 for a time.
‘The community were outraged and didn’t know where to turn. The images that Ellie shared were horrific.
‘The story she told – of being groomed, beaten, and abused – were every parent’s nightmare and the vultures began to circle – those who make their money and reputations out of others’ misery.
‘The far right were the most obvious and insidious, with the indignity of Tommy Robinson whipping up tensions still further in pursuit of ‘justice’ being perhaps the icing on the cake.
‘For many people reading about a great injustice being done to one of their own, this provided a perfect opportunity to vent steam. But for a sad minority it spilled out to violence and intimidation. Soon my surgeries were peppered with families who had been torn apart by the allegations made against them, and local people who feared for their and their children’s safety due to the colour of their skin.
‘For a community like ours, where our very geography makes us close, this was unbearable. And for a good deal of these tensions to play out during the lockdown when neighbours were literally each others’ lifelines was just heartbreaking to witness.
‘People’s lives have been ruined as a result of her stories, and Barrow has been put through the wringer. One man spent time in prison due to her (false) allegations. Others saw their windows put in. Or received death threats. Others still left town and have not returned.
‘And trust in the Police has been shaken.
‘The other person in need of support is Ellie herself. It may be her stories that provided the fuel for this fire, and which have unleashed genuine hurt on people and the wider community.
‘At the end of the day, no person commits the kind of physical abuse against their own body that we saw in that first Facebook post, or fabricates the lies that she did, unless that are deeply unwell. I hope she gets the help she needs.’
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details
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