R v Eleanor Williams: Sentencing remarks of HHJ Robert Altham


These remarks are the most comprehensive, authoritative version of the events that led to the investigation, prosecution, conviction and jailing of 22 year old Barrow-in-Furness woman, Eleanor Williams (more widely known as ‘Ellie’) who lied and fantasised about being raped, beaten, tortured and trafficked by white males and Asian grooming gangs.

Sentencing remarks in full:

“In this matter the Defendant was convicted after trial on Counts 1 to 8 each of which alleged perverting the course of justice. She is also to be sentenced on Count 9 – a further count of perverting the course of justice to which she entered a guilty plea on 15th February 2022 and for which she will receive full credit.

“These sentencing remarks will necessarily be very lengthy. This is because I need clearly to set out the factual basis upon which I sentence and because hundreds of pages have been served specifically for this sentence hearing. I have also heard evidence during the sentencing hearing.

“This is not a case where it is necessary for me to obtain a pre-sentence report. There will inevitably be a lengthy prison sentence and I have a great deal of information about the Defendant’s situation from her evidence in the case and the many psychiatric reports.

“By way of very broad summary the Defendant made very serious allegations of a sexual nature against a large number of men between October 2017 and May 2020.

“In relation to each of the Counts there were a number of ways in which the jury could have convicted the Defendant.

“Each Count was divided into paragraphs (a) and (b). Paragraph (a) in each count represented the making of false allegations. Paragraph (b) in each count represented the fabrication of evidence to support those false allegations. In all Counts (apart from Counts 6 and 9) paragraph (a) was further particularised.

“The jury was directed that they should only convict if the Crown had proved so that they were all sure of at least one of paragraph (a) or one of its particulars or of paragraph (b). Thus it is important for me to identify in each count my findings as to what was proved to the criminal standard.

“At the time of the commission of Count 1 the Defendant was 16 and 17. In relation to Counts 2 – 4 she was 18. In relation to the other counts she was either 18 or 18 and 19. She is now 22, having turned 22 during her trial.

“On Count 1 the Defendant made an allegation against another young man whom I will refer to as C who was hosting an informal get together at his house. The Defendant became drunk and smoked cannabis such that she was sick. C and others called for her sister and mother and her mother picked her up. She then alleged to the hospital that she had been raped and then made a police video-taped interview in which she asserted that C had kissed her, watched her urinate, commented on her pubic area, touched her bottom, sat on top of her, exposed her breasts and kissed them. He had then threatened to set his dog on her
and bury her in the garden or take her and put her in the sea.

“I am sure that this entire account is false and she knew it was false. It was the Crown’s case that she then created messages to herself which strengthened her allegation against C.
Whilst I am sure that these messages were not genuinely from C or anyone present that night, I am not sure that these messages were fabricated by the Defendant. It remains, in my judgement, a possibility that these messages were created by ill-intentioned third parties. It follows that, in relation to Count 1 she will be sentenced on the basis that she is guilty under paragraph (a) but not under paragraph (b).

“As a result of this allegation C was arrested and interviewed on 27th November 2017. He was not remanded into custody but had the matter hanging over him until March 2018. The Defendant had withdrawn her support for the prosecution in January 2018.

“In relation to Counts 2,3 and 4 the Defendant made 3 separate allegations of rape against one Jordan Trengove (who is content to be named in these remarks). She went on a night out on 8th March 2019 into the 9th March 2019 with Mr Trengove and others. She drank or took drugs such that she became intoxicated and had to be taken home. Over the next few days she began to hear others talking on social media about what had happened during that night out. I am perfectly satisfied that there was no basis for her believing that she had
been sexually assaulted that night. However, she chose to assert that she had been taken to an address by Mr Trengove, raped and then taken back into Barrow-in-Furness. In order to support that allegation she created a number of false messages (of which she took screen shots) purporting to be from Mr Trengove in which he made supposed admissions in the most derogatory terms. She sent those messages to herself and then took screenshots of them so that they could be handed to the police. She made the first of a number of errors in
that one of the accounts she used to send these messages was created from her family home using the IP address of the Wi-Fi network there.

“After creating these messages she then, on 6th May 2019, called the police from her flat alleging that she had been attacked that day. At first she feigned reluctance to give an account but eventually made her false allegation about 8th and 9th March 2019 and 6th May 2019. In relation to 6th May she alleged that Mr Trengove had come to her flat. She let him in and he would not leave. She said she tried to push him out and they started to fight. He had a lock knife with which he threatened her. She said that he stripped her naked in the living room and pulled her into the bathroom by her hair. She alleged that he then beat her with a shower head. She said he raped her and did not use a condom. At one point when they were on the floor he threatened to kill her and said he would enjoy raping her. She said she had bruises to her legs. She was indeed injured.

This account was a complete fabrication. Mr Trengove was not even there. She knew it was false. She did indeed have injuries but had caused them herself to support her allegation. As we will see this was to become a feature of her conduct.

“Mr Trengove was then arrested and interviewed about both incidents and was, at that time, bailed. Then on 18th May 2019 she again called the police claiming that Mr Trengove had again come to her flat and violently raped her. She alleged that she had come home from a night out. Mr Trengove arrived at her house and came in through the door which was not locked as she was expecting a friend. She tried to push him out and they fought. She said that he struck her on her face and her body. As she was on the floor she alleged that he kissed her and raped her. He wore a condom. She phoned the police who appear to have found her
unconscious and naked on the floor. Again she was injured. Again these were self-inflicted.

“Again this was a false allegation which she knew to be false. Again, he was never even there.
This time Mr Trengove was arrested but not bailed. He remained in custody until 1st August 2019. He was told matters would not be pursued on 20th August 2019.

“In relation to Counts 2, 3 and 4 (which concern Mr Trengove) I am satisfied so that I am sure that the messages which she provided to the police apparently from Mr Trengove were created by the Defendant in order tosupport her false allegations. It follows that, in respect of these counts she will be sentenced on the basis of both paragraphs (a) and (b).

“I now summarise the evidence on Count 5. On 18th June 2019 the Defendant made allegation to Detective Inspector [Charlotte] Nutter that she had been the victim of sex traffickers who had, since she was 12 or 13, sold her for sex at so called sex parties. Her account mainly centred around a local businessman – Mohammed Ramzan (who is also content to be named in these remarks). She said that he had befriended her when she was 12 and shortly thereafter had sex with her – and then done so regularly. She said that Mr Ramzan then persuaded her to have sex with another man. This then turned into her being taken across the region to have sex with men.

“She described the abuse in some detail. She and other girls were abused. She claimed that the sexual acts would be filmed and those films sold. She spoke about individual acts of abuse – a girl who had had a knife inserted into her vagina and was then forced to have sex before it was healed. She spoke of punishment beatings meted out to girls who did not do as they were told. She said she had been shown videos of a girl being anally and vaginally raped. She spoke of a girl nearly dying as a result of a beating. Another girl had been
thrown down the stairs and then beaten. Another had had a dog set on her. That is the briefest of summaries.

“This was a detailed account of the most serious sort of sexual trafficking. This was, she said, first orchestrated by Mr Ramzan but then others became involved. It had been going on, she said, for years. She provided lists of girls who had been trafficked. None of them were trafficked. She supplied a long list of men who were the traffickers. They were not.
She said she had been taken to Amsterdam by Mr Ramzan and forced to work in a brothel. She also said that, on that same trip, she had been sold by Mr Ramzan for €25,000 but the buyer did not go through with the deal. She said that, on another occasion, an attempt had been made to take her to Pakistan. On another that she had been housed in a caravan for two weeks in the United Kingdom. There she had been subdued by being forcibly injected with heroin so that a procession of men could have sex with her for money. She said that
there were constant parties at which she and other young females were forced to attend – often given detailed instructions as to what to wear. She was made to take a young girl for an illegal abortion.

“All of this was complete fabrication. She created an extensive cast of traffickers – many with detailed biographies. Some were invented altogether. Others existed but were not traffickers at all. She also made allegations about being taken for sexual exploitation to Ibiza for two weeks where men paid Mr Ramzan to have sex with her. This allegation was also shown to be false – indeed in police interview when confronted with the possibility of travel records being checked she admitted that this account was false only to seek to replace it with another lie subsequently at trial.

“Detective Inspector Nutter was understandably troubled by what she heard. She spent a good deal of time with the Defendant believing that she was the victim of serious exploitation and that there was a highly dangerous ring of traffickers operating in the Barrow-in-Furness area. She arranged a meeting of regional police forces to begin a major multi-force investigation. She offered the Defendant a safe house or even participation in a witness protection scheme.

“The Crown were able to prove (and I am sure) that the allegations were a complete fiction. Certain parts were readily disprovable. She had been to Amsterdam but with her sister and her sister’s partner. To save money they had all three shared a hotel room at night and were in each other’s company all day. At trial the Defendant tried to claim that the attempt to sell her by Mr Ramzan happened on this trip but her sister and sister’s partner gave evidence to the effect that she was never out of their sight.

“The females she named as co-victims of trafficking were spoken to. Many were profoundly upset by the suggestion. Some gave evidence at court but many of their statements (denying that they had ever been trafficked) were agreed and read at trial. None of them had been trafficked.

“During the investigation Mr Ramzan was arrested. He had never really met the Defendant, had nothing whatsoever to do with trafficking, had never been alone in a room with her let alone had sex with her. He described in court his utter consternation at being publicly arrested on the promenade in Walney Island and questioned by the police. I will set out more of the impact of this offending upon him and his family later in these remarks.

“The Defendant set about seeking to back up her allegations against Mr Ramzan and the fictitious traffickers. She did so in a number of ways. I summarise here, only some of them.
She manipulated people with whom she was in contact via Snapchat to contact her. She would rename these people in her phone with names of the supposed traffickers. She would induce sexual messages from them and then take a screen shot of those messages. Thus it would appear that she had a message with a sexual overtone from someone with the name of one of the supposed traffickers. When she was in the police station she would elicit such messages to ensure that there was live evidence of the supposed traffickers pestering

“A number of these people came to court to give evidence. One young man from Essex had been rebadged by the Defendant in her phone as Shaggy – the name of one of the supposed people traffickers from Barrow. He was in fact a young man from Essex who had had little contact with the Defendant. She had told him she was from Portsmouth and cultivated a friendship with him to create messages she could later use. Another was a vague school acquaintance who wanted a relationship with her. He was renamed to Harum or
Rammi. She then took screen shots of these messages falsely appearing to come from Harum or Rammi so that she could say they were evidence of her being trafficked.

“The Defendant manipulated friends and work colleagues to involve them unwittingly in her deceptions. She invented people in her phone who simply did not exist. She sometimes used two phones – one to send and one to receive messages from supposed traffickers or trafficked woman. She would then take screenshots of those messages.
There were other types of evidence she created. She would self-inflict unpleasant injuries which she later attributed to fictitious traffickers. She wrote letters to herself supposedly from Rammi. She made false diary entries.

“Based upon the evidence I have heard I am sure of all of the matters which I have set out above. It follows that, in relation to Count 5 she is to be sentenced on the basis that all of the particulars under paragraph (a) are proved as is paragraph (b).

“I turn to Count 6. Whilst the Defendant had refused to participate in a witness protection program she did agree to be temporarily housed by the police in a hotel close to the Kendal police station. The police arranged for her to have a job there. These events happened during the time frame of Count 5. However, because the issue was completely different to the remainder of Count 5, it was reflected in a separate count. It is convenient to deal with it at this stage.

“On 30th June 2019 the Defendant left the hotel provided by the police and travelled to Blackpool by train. She had already booked herself a hotel room there. The undisputed evidence was that she checked into her room and spent most of the time there. When she  did go out she was alone and on foot. She was seen on video to make a note on her phone of the vehicle registration number of a car and the details of a takeaway restaurant. Having done so she went to a shop, bought some food, sat in her hotel room and watched YouTube videos.
The next day she got up late and made her way to Preston.

“The police and her family were very worried about her. She had ignored their messages. Eventually police officers traced her to Preston and met her there. She was driven home to Barrow-in-Furness and, in the early hours of the morning Detective Inspector Nutter came to meet her – worried as to what had happened.

“The Defendant was later to tell the police in great detail that the traffickers had found her in Kendal and instructed her to go to Blackpool. There she said she was met by Mr Ramzan and threatened with a violent death. She was made to visit four premises and at each she was brutally raped by multiple men. The car whose registration number she had noted down was, she said, used to transport her between properties. A flat above the takeaway whose details she had noted down was the venue for one of these attacks. Officers took her to
Blackpool twice to try and identify the locations of these places.

“This account was all completely false. Eventually, confronted by incontrovertible evidence she was forced to accept that none of this was true. She was later to claim at trial that she was forced to give this false account by the traffickers but I ruled that duress was not available to her. Indeed I am sure that no one pressured her to go to Blackpool at all. She did so entirely of her own volition in order to make up false allegations against Mr Ramzan and others.

“I turn to Count 7. On 18th July 2019 the Defendant caught a train to Leeds. The clear evidence is that she spent a good part of the day in the park. She had two phones with her. She then travelled back to Preston where she walked into the town centre. A young man walking home from a family party happened upon her. He asked her for a light and they started to talk. They had a brief and entirely consensual sexual encounter. The Defendant then caught the train to Barrow-in-Furness exchanging details with the young man and tentatively agreeing to meet him at a later date. Once at Barrow-in-Furness she walked to her flat. Her brother’s girlfriend happened to see her as she walked home, picked her up and took her home. Much of this (including much of what happened in Preston) was caught on CCTV.

“By now it was the early hours of 19th July. Once her brother learned from his girlfriend that the Defendant was at home he called the police. Everyone had been frantically worried about her all day and she had been ignoring their messages. When the police arrived at her house the Defendant pretended to be semi-conscious. The jury and I saw the body worn footage captured by the officers.

“It is clear that the Defendant was play acting pretending to be semi-conscious. She was injured but the clear evidence was that she had inflicted her injuries upon herself.
She then complained and created a false account of what had happened in Leeds, Preston and Barrow that day. All of this account was inconsistent with CCTV, telephone and other evidence. She told the police that on Wednesday 17th July a man called Salsa (an invented trafficker) came to her door, slapped her face and pinned her to the wall by the neck. He told her to follow orders she would get on Snapchat. He said she had lost them money and she needed to earn them £10,000 as a result.

“She said that she was then told to go to Leeds. There she was taken to a house where she had sex with 2 men. She and a girl called Molly then walked to another premises. There were other girls there. There she said she had sex with 3 men. She was then driven to a chicken shop in Headingly where she had sex with another man. She then said she was driven to Bramley and then to Bradford where she had sex with 3 men. She then saw her passport on the table with a ring on it and flight details to Bangladesh so she ran. When the traffickers
were able to contact her by phone she was told to go to Preston. She said that the young man she had met in Preston was a trafficker and that he sent her a message telling her that he had lined up some cocaine on a bench and she had no choice but to take it. She said that he took her to two Asian men who paid him to have sex with her. She then said that the young man himself then took her down a back alley and raped her.

“Eventually, she said, she was allowed to return to Barrow-in-Furness. Salsa met her at the train station and he drove her home. We have seen the video footage of her walking home. She said that when she opened her door he and another man forced their way in and she was forced to have sex with them both. Salsa struck her in the face and told her to sort herself out and that they would be back for her at 2 am. Ten minutes later the police arrived and she could not recall anything further until she woke in hospital.

“This was a complete fabrication. Much of it could be disproved from the CCTV in Preston and Barrow-inFurness. What happened in Leeds was shown to be false by the location of her phone. She had during the course of the day created other evidence to support the false account she knew she would give. Most notably she had used one of the two phones she had with her that day to send messages from “Nicole” to her. She had then taken screenshots of those messages. Nicole was supposed to be a fellow trafficked woman who was being raped at the parties. Nicole was supposedly angry at the Defendant for leaving her and the other victims in Leeds. However, the agreed evidence was that, when Nicole was apparently complaining about being left in Leeds by the Defendant, the phone from which the messages were being sent was with the Defendant on the train back to Preston. She was sending the Nicole messages from one phone in her possession to the other phone in her possession.

“I turn now to Count 8. In May 2020 the Defendant was on bail for perverting the course of justice. It is clear that she was still intent on trying to invent evidence to support her previous accounts. In the earlier part of 2020 the instances of her apparently going missing and turning up intoxicated and injured had increased.

“On 18th May 2020 she set out from home on foot. It is clear from the evidence that she never left Walney Island and never entered a vehicle. At 22:49 she was found by police in fields close to her home. She had multiple injuries. One eye was swollen shut. She had hammer injuries to her legs and abdomen which were too numerous to count. Part of her little finger was partly severed. These injuries were all self-inflicted.

“Her account was that she had intended to catch a bus to travel into Barrow but one of the males associated with those who had exploited her offered her a lift which she accepted. She then said she was taken to a house in Barrow-in-Furness. There were 10 males there. She said that a number of named men raped her at that property. One of them assaulted her and tried to cut her finger off. One of them drove her back to Walney Island. She walked off to where the police found her.

“A few days later the police found a hammer which she had purchased some days before. It was hidden against a fence close to where the police had found her. It bore traces of her blood and DNA. A Home Office pathologist gave evidence to the effect that the serious injuries she had sustained were completely inconsistent with her account of what had happened but were completely consistent with being self-inflicted with the hammer which she had bought, which was found close to her and which bore her DNA.

“On 20th May [2020] the Defendant made a Facebook post in which she posted shocking photographs of the injuries she had inflicted upon herself. These photographs were very graphic and bound to produce a significant response. In that post she referred to these having been inflicted by three, as she put it, “Asian” men as they took her to various sex parties. In that same post she referred to having been similarly abused by Asian men and men of Pakistani origin in various locations across the north of England for a number of years.
She said that she would continue to tell the police everything she knew. She encouraged parents to be vigilant and children to speak out if they were concerned. She did not mention that she was already on bail for perverting the course of justice.

“I turn to Count 9 to which the Defendant pleaded guilty. This admission represents her writing a letter from custody to her sister asking her sister to tell her (the Defendant’s) solicitors that a hammer had been found in her bedroom. This was an attempt to create a false defence to Count 8. When she entered her plea it was on the basis only of what she wrote to her sister and not what was said to her mother. In the context of this case
it is not necessary to decide that issue and I will sentence her on her basis.

“The Defendant is 22. She had no convictions prior to these matters coming before the court.
I note that she was under 18 at the time of the commission of Count 1. She had turned 18 by the time all other offences were committed but I bear in mind her young age and the principles set out in the Guideline in relation to sentencing children and young people. Though she was an adult at the time of the commission of the vast majority of this offending I must bear in mind her maturity as well as her chronological age. There is evidence that she is immature.

“Apart from her age there is some other personal mitigation. There are clear overtones of difficulties in her childhood. She had been self-harming from a young age. However, there is little clarity about what these difficulties involved. It is mitigation that before this offending she was of good character.

“It is troubling to say the least that she shows no significant sign of remorse – even continuing to profess the truth of her allegations. The only flicker of appreciation of what she has done came today with a brief note from her read by her Counsel regretting the effects of her post on 20th May 2020.

“I have received much psychiatric evidence in this case all of which I have read. I heard evidence yesterday from Dr [Lucy] Bacon called on behalf of the Defendant. Dr Bacon maintains that the Defendant has a Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“Dr [Martin] Lock who has provided a report for the Crown does not accept that this is a conclusion which can be drawn given that there is no satisfactory account of any antecedent trauma.

“I agree with the conclusion of Dr Lock that there is no evidence upon which I could conclude that there is a Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Since she has been found guilty the Defendant has hinted at other sources of trauma but given no real indication as to what it could be.

“Of course I have considered whether the aberrant nature of these offences means that I should assume that the Defendant is suffering from some mental impairment. There is no explanation for why the Defendant would commit these offences. She has gone to extraordinary lengths to create false accusations including causing herself significant injury. No explanation for this behaviour is apparent. However, that does not mean
that I should speculate. Unless and until the Defendant choses to say why she has told these lies we will not know.

“In any event, I question the relevance of the Defendant suffering from a Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in relation to sentence. When Dr Bacon gave evidence yesterday I asked her to comment on whether such a condition could reduce the culpability of a person to be sentenced for perverting the course of justice. Dr Bacon had told us that this was not within the scope of her instruction from the Defence. When I asked the question of Dr Bacon, Miss [Louise] Blackwell KC intervened telling me that it was not the Defence case that the
Defendant’s complex post-traumatic stress disorder (if that is what she has) is relevant to culpability.

“I do accept that it is part of her personal mitigation that she has vulnerabilities which I will take into account.

“I turn to the structure of the sentence. The count which concerns C and the counts which concern Mr Trengove are separate from each other and from the other offending in this case. However, the offending at counts 5, 6 and 7 can properly be regarded as a course of conduct. Counts 8 and 9 are together part of the same course of conduct and whilst they could be seen as part of that represented by Counts 5, 6 and 7, they concern a separate incident and were committed on bail for other matters.

“I intend to impose concurrent sentences on counts 5, 6 and 7. However, there will be a consecutive sentence on Count 1. There will be additional sentences on Counts 2, 3 and 4 concurrent with each other but consecutive with other sentences. There will be further sentences on Counts 8 and 9 concurrent with each other but consecutive to the other sentences save that I will temper the structure of these sentences to give

“There is no guideline for this offence. I apply the General Guideline: Overarching principles.
The maximum sentence is at large. I have been provided with a number of authorities which I have read. There are no analogous offences for which there are guidelines.

“I consider first the Defendant’s culpability. Then the harm. I consider the purposes of sentencing and then the aggravating and mitigating features. I must then consider totality before arriving at my final sentence.

“The cases to which I have been referred provide the following factors which are amongst those which I should bear in mind. I remind myself that because this offence strikes at the heart of the administration of justice it is to be regarded as serious. Deterrence is an important aim of sentencing – though I must remember that when sentencing young people this may be extinguished or diminished where the principal aim of the youth justice
system is to prevent offending by young people and I must have regard to the welfare of the Defendant.

“This offence is fact specific. Previous cases are of little assistance. When considering culpability I take account of the seriousness of the underlying offence. I bear in mind the nature of the deceptive conduct and the time over which it continued. I consider whether the offence cast suspicion on others, whether others were arrested. In this case I am asked to consider community impact. I will set out in detail my approach in this regard.

“In relation to all counts I bear in mind that these were allegations of sexual offences. These carry not only the risk of prosecution but also a potentially indelible stain on the character and reputation of everyone accused. Sexual allegations, even where disproved often leave the falsely accused person living under a general and misplaced suspicion.

“I consider culpability and harm. In count 1 the culpability is high. The allegation was very serious. However, the Defendant withdrew her support for the prosecution of C after 2 months. The harm is also high. In his victim personal statement C sets out how frightening it was to be wrongly accused and then to be arrested and kept in the police station. He had to remove himself from social media because he was wrongly accused of being a rapist. Even 5 years later he says he does not go to Barrow town centre because he fears he is under suspicion. He could not even bring himself to pick his son up from nursery for fear
of what people were saying. He describes the Defendant’s false allegation against him as the worst experience of his life. He does not think he will ever recover.

“In relation to Counts 2 to 4 the culpability is higher still. The allegations were even more serious and there were a number of them. They were maintained over a longer period. They were bolstered by the creation of false evidence with some degree of sophistication.

“The harm is also even higher than in Count 1. Mr Trengove’s house was spray painted with the word “rapist”. His mother had to leave her house. He was remanded into custody between May and August 2019. Even when released his bail conditions meant he had to live far from home for a further 19 days. When he returned to Barrow he was abused in the street by strangers. He became isolated. He tried to take his life in August 2020 and is still taking anti-depressant medication. He has lost any sense of self-confidence. He says that he can no
longer work. He has a child now and social services received scores of anonymous phone calls saying he is a rapist and not safe to be with his child. He recently moved house and a neighbour called him a rapist saying they did not want him living there.

“The culpability in relation to Counts 5, 6 and 7 could scarcely be higher. The allegations made were of the utmost severity. They were made over a protracted period. There was considerable sophistication in the creation of false evidence to support them. The harm in relation to these counts is extremely high. Mr Ramzan was arrested on 7th July 2019 in the public street in the community where he lives and then held in custody for 36 hours. Two weeks after his arrest he was in such despair that he tried to kill himself in front of his family in a most graphic and upsetting way. He sustained injury in that attempt which has left scars. Though he was informed the next month that there would be no further action by the police that was, as he puts it in his statement, only the start of the worst period of his life. He describes being targeted by sections of the Barrow community. He has been unable to
sleep and, to this day fears for his safety. The windows of his vehicles have been smashed and their tyres damaged. He and his family have had to endure abuse. The windows of his rental property have been put in and then once repaired, immediately put in again. He has received countless death threats over social media. He has felt anxious going out for the last 3 years. His family, including his children, have been affected. For a period they had to move out of the family home. He describes the trauma of being cross examined in court during the trial. His businesses were ruined. He describes going from a successful businessman to someone who has virtually nothing.

“Also within consideration of harm is the young man who happened to meet the Defendant in Preston on 18th July 2019 on the way back from Leeds. When he was told that he had been accused of raping the Defendant he suffered serious consequences. He tells me in his statement that he was studying for professional exams and doing well at work. As a result of this allegation he was unable to continue his studies and has not worked since. He tells me that he suffered a serious crisis in his mental health. He attempted to kill himself. Though
the tone of his statement suggests that this false allegation was not the only cause of those problems, it is his belief that they significantly contributed to them. He remained anxious about going out and meeting people. He does not trust people. He found the trial itself very stressful. Since then he has started to feel better.

“I turn to the statements of those who were wrongly identified as being the victims of exploitation. Their names may not be reported. They all refer to the surprise of being approached by the police about matters of which they knew nothing. One then refers to particular problems she had as she was pregnant at the time she was spoken to and particular problems which followed. Another speaks of her feelings at having been, as she puts
it, exploited by this Defendant. Another speaks of the disruption of being required to give evidence at court at a particularly inconvenient time in her life.

“I turn now to the question of community impact. Under s.63 of the Sentencing Act 2020 I must consider the harm which the Defendant intended and that which might foreseeably have been caused.

“I have seen statements in relation to this topic and viewed a compilation of footage taken at the time. According to the statement of Superintendent [Matt] Pearman, the period following the Facebook post on 20th May 2020 was turbulent in Barrow. He says that Barrow had not seen such a public display of anger for 30 years.

“There were public demonstrations targeting the local paper, the local Asian Community and the Police. This was in the height of the first [COVID-19] lockdown and Superintendent Pearman tells me in his statement that there was a sense of heightened tension four about 4 months. The comments attracted by the Defendant’s post named local businesses who feared they would be subject to attack. One restaurant had its window smashed. Police resources were diverted to dealing with the threat. Death threats were made against local restaurant owners.

“Marches were organised to protest about a suspected police cover-up. The fire service installed smoke alarms at vulnerable premises. Local journalists were the subject of credible threats. One left her home and moved out of the area. Racist anti-police graffiti was sprayed onto a wall in Barrow.

“Threats were made on social media against the police. A demonstration convoy of cars drove from Barrow to Ulverston and back again on 25th May. The police were under pressure from those who believed they were complicit in a cover up on the one hand and those who felt unsafe at the hands of apparent vigilantes on the other. Individual police officers on patrol seeking to support the community in COVID were subject to insults.

“Social Services were also the subject of unwarranted insults and criticism. The local newspaper was subject to boycotts and ultimately, I am told, collapsed for financial reasons – though there is no evidence before me upon which I could conclude that this was a direct result of the boycott. By mid-June there were ongoing protests. These appear to have been in response to a person from outside Barrow who was active in the demonstrations having been arrested. The issue then appeared to be more his arrest. Nonetheless there were serious consequences. An Indian Restaurant’s windows were smashed. There were further protests and further allegations of a police cover-up.

“In the meantime there were credible threats to police officers. Attempts were made to find their home addresses. Online threats were made that they would be found and they would be harmed. I am told that this state of unrest continued until August 2019.

“Local people felt motivated to donate their money to a fund which was set up to support the Defendant. This fund quickly reached £22,000.

“What effect, if any, should this have on the sentence of the Defendant? During the course of the trial I have heard many days of evidence from this Defendant and have read hundreds
of her social media communications. It is not the Crown’s case that, when she blamed Asian and Pakistani men for her abuse, she was racially motivated. I agree with that position and will sentence on the basis that she was not so motivated. I note that, in this case, she has made false allegations about white men also. I am sure that she chose to lie about Asian men because she was modelling her lies on other cases of national prominence. She regarded the prospects of being believed as greater if she based them on true cases already within the
public consciousness. She was not principally motivated by a desire to stir up public unrest.
However, I cannot conclude that she chose to make her Facebook post of 20th May 2020 for any other reason than that she intended to create an impact within the town. I accept that there was no direct incitement to do anything but it was entirely foreseeable there would be considerable community impact upon those of Asian or Pakistani heritage. She cannot be held wholly or directly responsible for the criminal behaviour of others who used her allegations as an excuse for their own inexcusable conduct but it was foreseeable that others
would behave in anti-social and unacceptable ways.

“It was not foreseeable that her cause would be taken up by those outside Barrow and develop to the extent that it did. However, some community impact was foreseeable. To that limited extent I take into account the community impact.

“The harm of this offending extends to an undermining of public confidence in the Criminal Justice system. We are aware that sex trafficking of young females does occur. There is a risk that genuine victims will, as a result of this Defendant’s actions, feel deterred from reporting it. People may be less likely to believe their allegations. I am sure that those charged with investigating such offences will do all in their power to avoid any reluctance to investigate such allegations.

“In this case I make reductions for the Defendant’s age, then for personal mitigation. In relation to Count 9 only, I reduce the sentence for credit for her guilty plea. I then further adjust the sentence for totality. To assist in understanding how I have arrived at my overall sentence I first set out the sentence after trial for each count without making any reduction for any of these factors.

“In relation to Count 1 the sentence would have been 2 years’ imprisonment. For Counts 2, 3 and 4 – 5 years’ imprisonment concurrent with each other but consecutive to the sentence on Count 1. For Counts 5, 6 and 7 – 7 ½ years’ imprisonment concurrent with each other but consecutive to the sentences already imposed. For Count 8 – 2 years’ imprisonment and for Count 9 – 1 year and 4 months’ imprisonment both consecutive to the sentences already imposed.

“I then turn to the various reductions for the factors mentioned above. The Defendant was a child when she committed the offence at Count 1. The relevant guideline indicates that
the court should take as its starting point the sentence likely to have been imposed on the date at which the offence was committed. That sentence would have been, if custodial, a detention and training order of less than two years. The reduction from the adult sentence will be one half for Count 1. There will be a reduction for age of one third from the adult sentence in relation to Counts 2 to 4. In relation to the other counts the reduction for age will be of the order of one quarter. She was 19 during much of this offending. After her false allegations about Mr Trengove this was not impulsive offending arising from naivety. That explains the lesser reduction. I then reduce the sentences further to take account of her personal mitigation. I then reduce the sentence on Count 9 to reflect her credit.

“Finally I take account of totality. I do this by making the sentences on Counts 8 and 9 concurrent with each other and other sentences and by further reducing the sentences on Counts 5 to 7.

“Eleanor Williams please stand up. These are the sentences you will serve. On Count 1 there will be a sentence of 6 months’ imprisonment. On Counts 2 to 4 the sentence will be 3 years’ imprisonment concurrent on each count but consecutive to the sentence on Count 1 giving a total so far of 3 ½ years. There will be sentences of 5 years on Count 5, 6 and 7 concurrent with one another but consecutive to the sentences already imposed. Finally there will be a sentence of 1 year and 3 months’ imprisonment on Count 8 and 6 months’ imprisonment
on Count 9 those sentences to run concurrently with each other and the other sentences imposed. That gives a total sentence of 8 ½ years’ imprisonment. You will serve half of the total sentence of imprisonment in custody after which you will be released on licence. The days spent in custody will count towards your sentence. You have spent 361 days on a qualifying curfew. Because of that, the time you must spend in custody is reduced by 179 days. If that figure is incorrect it can be corrected later without a further hearing.

“On release your licence will be subject to conditions. If you breach the terms of your licence you will be liable to be recalled to serve the remainder of the sentence.

“There is an application for a Serious Crime Prevention Order. I find that this is a serious offence for the purposes of this application. There are reasonable grounds for believing that the order would protect the public. I exercise my discretion in favour of making the order as sought with amendments to the effect that you may also possess a tablet and a games console and that you should be able to operate a work and personal email account. That order will run for a period of 5 years from 17th February 2025.

“I order deprivation and destruction of the items on page 1 of Divider 8 of the Crown’s bundle of documents.

“If the statutory surcharge applies the order can be drawn up in the appropriate amount.


Page last updated Tuesday 14th March, 2023 at 2040hrs

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Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

One thought on “R v Eleanor Williams: Sentencing remarks of HHJ Robert Altham

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