A man who spent ten weeks on remand in prison and had his home attacked by vigilantes after being falsely accused of rape by a Facebook fantasist, has said he plans to sue the police for his ordeal.
Jordan Trengove, was just 18 years old when Eleanor Williams went to Cumbria Police claiming that he had drugged and raped her following a night out in 2019.
He was arrested and held in prison alongside genuine sex offenders and paedophiles, before detectives established that he had an alibi for the night in question and released him without charge.
Williams showed no remorse as she was jailed for eight and a half years on Tuesday for making a string of false rape claims about him and other men and also for lying about being the victim of an Asian grooming gang. She accused one man of rape after he simply asked for a light in the street.
Mr Trengove, who tried to take his own life after his home was daubed with the word ‘rapist’, has said he now plans to take action against police.
He said: “I don’t think the sentence is long enough, in my opinion, for what she’s done to us all.”
Williams, 22, from Barrow-in-Furness sparked major unrest in the town after posting on Facebook that she had been trafficked, beaten and raped by Asian men.
Graphic photographs of her injuries were shared on social media sites more than 100,000 times, but it later emerged that she had inflicted them on herself with a hammer.
She had six phones and went to great lengths to fabricate messages and social media posts in order to support her lies.
Her allegations sparked a global ‘Justice for Ellie’ campaign with more than 100,000 members signing up and raising thousands of pounds.
Far-right protesters, including Tommy Robinson, descended on the town, Asian businesses were attacked and members of the local community were targeted.
Mohammed Ramzan, a business owner who Williams accused of grooming her from the age of 12, was arrested in the street in front of friends and neighbours and held in custody for 36 hours.
He also tried to take his own life and has described how he has gone from being a successful businessman to someone who has nothing.
Mr Ramzan said: “I have had countless death threats made over social media from people all over the world because of what they thought I was involved in.”
She told police he had forced her to work in the sex industry in Amsterdam but subsequent investigations established he was using his bank card in a B&Q in Barrow in Furness when she had alleged he was in the Netherlands.
Speaking outside court following the hearing, Mr Ramzan said: “There’s no winners here today, I feel no sense of triumph, only sadness. I’m not sure how the family and I are going to recover from this. Mud sticks and I fear it may take some time.”
In a letter to the judge, ahead of sentencing, Williams apologised for the unrest caused in Barrow, but continued to insist she was telling the truth.
She said: “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.”
Judge Robert Altham said there was no obvious motive for Williams’s actions and her defence barrister, Louise Blackwell KC, said her client maintained the allegations were true.
The judge said: “It is troubling to say the least that she shows no significant signs of remorse – even continuing to profess the truth of her allegations.”
He went on: “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 his behaviour is apparent.”
Describing Mr Trengove’s ordeal, the judge said his house had been spray painted with the word ‘rapist’.
He went on: “His mother had to leave her house. He was remanded into custody between May and August 2019. Even when he was released, his bail condition 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.”
The court was told he had since had a child but social services had received scores of anonymous phone calls calling him a rapist and saying he is not safe to be with his child.
Superintendent Matthew Pearman, of Cumbria Police: “It is important to note that Williams’ allegations could not have been taken any more seriously when she initially came forward. A large-scale investigation was launched and those she made allegations against were arrested and interviewed.
“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.”