A woman whose lies spawned a police investigation into false human trafficking and child sex abuse claims has been jailed - after she was caught out by supermarket CCTV.
Eleanor Williams, from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, falsely claimed to be the victim of a grooming gang and went as far as faking her own injuries.
In May 2020 she posted pictures on Facebook with her face badly bruised and a swollen eye the size of a golf ball, claiming she had been beaten and abused. The post was shared more than 100,000 times.
But sentencing her to eight-and-a-half years on Tuesday, Honorary Recorder of Preston Judge Robert Altham Judge Altham described her allegations as “complete fiction”.
Preston Crown Court heard the 22-year-old fantasist had been caught out by cameras that undermined her story.
In one clip Williams was caught on CCTV in Tesco purchasing the hammer she used to inflict the injuries on herself.
She was later caught purchasing a pot noodle at a Spar in Blackpool – the exact time she claimed she was being held against her will.
Her lies would continue to unravel as police investigated her claims.
Local business owner Mohammed Ramzan was one of the three men Williams claimed had trafficked her, alleging the 43-year-old had groomed her from the age of 12.
She alleged he had forced her to work in brothels in Amsterdam and sold her at an auction there, but the court heard the period she described did not match up with Mr Ramzan’s records.
The bank was able to trace his bank card as being used at a B&Q in Barrow at the time Williams alleged the event had taken place.
Williams also claimed she had been taken to Blackpool and was forced to have sex with men against her will.
During the probe, Cumbria Police concluded Williams had travelled to Blackpool – but booked herself into a hotel alone, where she bought a Pot Noodle from a nearby Spar.
Judge Altham told the court that there is no explanation for why she made the allegations.
Speaking after the hearing, Superintendent for Policing in Westmorland and Furness, Matt Pearman, said: “In May 2020, the defendant posted images of her injuries to Facebook, claiming she had been the victim of sexual and physical abuse.
“More than two years on from that act, we are still working to repair the damage done in the community.
“This has been a lengthy, complex and ultimately tragic case, as well as a dark period for Barrow. I hope that the full story, now it is in the public domain, will demonstrate that the police take allegations of sexual and physical abuse extremely seriously and will investigate thoroughly.
“I urge anyone who has been the victim of sexual or physical abuse to report it today. You will be listened to and supported.”