52 episodes

At the height of lockdown, 19-year-old Ellie Williams claims on social media she’s been trafficked by an Asian grooming gang across the North of England. Photos of her horrific injuries add to the outrage and the post goes viral – shared more than 100 thousand times.

Social media rumours lead to attacks on Asian men and businesses in her hometown of Barrow-in-Furness. But when she’s arrested for perverting the course of justice, things really explode and there are protest rallies and claims of a cover-up. At the trial the prosecution claims she’d lied, faked text messages and even caused the catalogue of injuries to herself.  
 
In season 6 of StoryCast, Sky News’ Jason Farrell and Liz Lane, who reported on the case at the time, return to Barrow to investigate what could have led her to make these claims and if, underneath it all, there is some other secret buried amongst the lies.

With access to her family, police investigators and those most impacted by her allegations, we ask: Why did Ellie Williams create such an elaborate lie? And what happened AFTER the trial – once all the media attention died down and other allegations began to emerge? 

For more investigative stories from the award-winning Sky News StoryCast strand, listen to our past seasons.  
 
SEASON 5: Patient 11 (2024) 
Following the death of her brother, young mother Alexis Quinn seeks temporary respite in NHS psychiatric care, never imagining that three days, would turn into more than three year ordeal that would ultimately expose a national scandal. 
 
SEASON 4: StoryCast 21 (2021) 
Through extraordinary personal stories, Sky News revisits 21 of the world’s biggest news events this century. 
  
SEASON 3: Polonium and The Piano Player (2020) 
Two Russian agents release a miniature nuclear weapon in a 5-star London hotel. But former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko is not the only victim. 
  
SEASON 2: What happened to Annie? (2019)  
In 2005, the body of 30-year-old Swedish woman, Annie Börjesson, was found on Prestwick beach in Scotland. Could one of the world’s most secretive security agencies be behind her death? 
 
SEASON 1: The Hunt for the Brinks-Mat Gold (2018) 
In 1983, an armed gang stole £26m in gold bars from a high-security depot near Heathrow Airport. Dubbed the crime of the century, the heist changed the face of Britain’s criminal landscape and the life of one undercover Scotland Yard detective.  
  

Unreliable Witness | Storycast Sky News

    • True Crime
    • 4.3 • 78 Ratings

At the height of lockdown, 19-year-old Ellie Williams claims on social media she’s been trafficked by an Asian grooming gang across the North of England. Photos of her horrific injuries add to the outrage and the post goes viral – shared more than 100 thousand times.

Social media rumours lead to attacks on Asian men and businesses in her hometown of Barrow-in-Furness. But when she’s arrested for perverting the course of justice, things really explode and there are protest rallies and claims of a cover-up. At the trial the prosecution claims she’d lied, faked text messages and even caused the catalogue of injuries to herself.  
 
In season 6 of StoryCast, Sky News’ Jason Farrell and Liz Lane, who reported on the case at the time, return to Barrow to investigate what could have led her to make these claims and if, underneath it all, there is some other secret buried amongst the lies.

With access to her family, police investigators and those most impacted by her allegations, we ask: Why did Ellie Williams create such an elaborate lie? And what happened AFTER the trial – once all the media attention died down and other allegations began to emerge? 

For more investigative stories from the award-winning Sky News StoryCast strand, listen to our past seasons.  
 
SEASON 5: Patient 11 (2024) 
Following the death of her brother, young mother Alexis Quinn seeks temporary respite in NHS psychiatric care, never imagining that three days, would turn into more than three year ordeal that would ultimately expose a national scandal. 
 
SEASON 4: StoryCast 21 (2021) 
Through extraordinary personal stories, Sky News revisits 21 of the world’s biggest news events this century. 
  
SEASON 3: Polonium and The Piano Player (2020) 
Two Russian agents release a miniature nuclear weapon in a 5-star London hotel. But former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko is not the only victim. 
  
SEASON 2: What happened to Annie? (2019)  
In 2005, the body of 30-year-old Swedish woman, Annie Börjesson, was found on Prestwick beach in Scotland. Could one of the world’s most secretive security agencies be behind her death? 
 
SEASON 1: The Hunt for the Brinks-Mat Gold (2018) 
In 1983, an armed gang stole £26m in gold bars from a high-security depot near Heathrow Airport. Dubbed the crime of the century, the heist changed the face of Britain’s criminal landscape and the life of one undercover Scotland Yard detective.  
  

    Unreliable Witness 6: Eleanor Williams – Inside

    Unreliable Witness 6: Eleanor Williams – Inside

    Police material is released, taking us to the moments they discover her battered at her flat and the night before her infamous post. They also reveal her reaction when accused of lying. Meanwhile Liz and Jason are given a psychiatric report charting medical records and interviews which reveal more on Ellie’s background and state of mind. And, finally, Liz hears from the young woman at the centre of it all - directly from prison.   
     
    Warning: This series discusses issues of sexual abuse, self-harm, violence and suicide 

    From Sky News Storycast, Unreliable Witness is presented by Jason Farrell and Liz Lane.

    Series Producer: Anne-Marie Bullock 
    Executive Producer: Louise Cotton 
    Sound Design: Matt Wareham 
    Additional Journalism: Sarah O’Connell 
    Sky Podcasts Editor: Paul Stanworth 

    • 38 min
    Unreliable Witness 5: I’m Coming for You

    Unreliable Witness 5: I’m Coming for You

    It’s revealed Mohammed Ramzan has been facing allegations other than from Ellie Williams. Liz and Jason meet ‘Sarah’ - who says she was groomed as a child in Hull and accuses Mo of being involved in the gang responsible. He claims something more sinister is at play. But his anger at the situation sees him back in court – in the dock.  
     
    Warning: This series discusses issues of sexual abuse, self-harm, violence and suicide 
     
    From Sky News Storycast, Unreliable Witness is presented by Jason Farrell and Liz Lane  
     
    Series Producer: Anne-Marie Bullock 
    Executive Producer: Louise Cotton 
    Sound Design: Matt Wareham 
    Additional Journalism: Sarah O’Connell 
    Sky Podcasts Editor: Paul Stanworth 

    • 31 min
    Unreliable Witness 4: The Witness Who Went Home

    Unreliable Witness 4: The Witness Who Went Home

    Ellie has been sentenced to 8 and a half years in prison but questions have been raised about what evidence was presented and left out in court. One potential witness who wasn’t called on says she could have supported parts of Ellie’s story. Liz and Jason ask why Williams wasn’t prosecuted in relation to the other men she had accused.  
     
    Warning: This series discusses issues of sexual abuse, self-harm, violence and suicide 
     
    From Sky News Storycast, Unreliable Witness is presented by Jason Farrell and Liz Lane  
     
    Series Producer: Anne-Marie Bullock 
    Executive Producer: Louise Cotton 
    Sound Design: Matt Wareham 
    Additional Journalism: Sarah O’Connell 
    Sky Podcasts Editor: Paul Stanworth 

    • 33 min
    Unreliable Witness 3: I’m not a Psychopath

    Unreliable Witness 3: I’m not a Psychopath

    After Covid delays, the trial is finally held and Ellie Williams is in the dock. Liz and Jason were among the reporters at court when the extent of her claims were revealed for the first time, shocking the media and public alike. She’s accused of perverting the course of justice against 5 men, including 4 who are white – of lying to police and falsifying evidence to back up her claims, including causing the horrific injuries to herself. Liz and Jason share some of the shocking twists and revelations of the 11-week trial and what Ellie has to say in her defence.  
     
    Warning: This series discusses issues of sexual abuse, self-harm, violence and suicide. 
     
    From Sky News Storycast, Unreliable Witness is presented by Jason Farrell and Liz Lane  
     
    Series Producer: Anne-Marie Bullock 
    Executive Producer: Louise Cotton 
    Sound Design: Matt Wareham 
    Additional Journalism: Sarah O’Connell 
    Sky Podcasts Editor: Paul Stanworth 

    • 34 min
    Unreliable Witness 2: Recipe for a Witch Hunt

    Unreliable Witness 2: Recipe for a Witch Hunt

    The fuse has been lit...and with limited information from police or in the news, social media speculation starts fingers pointing. Barrow is about to hit boiling point. Asian businesses are attacked.  Individuals are targeted. Meanwhile local businessman Mohammed Ramzan is arrested – suspected of being a central figure in the grooming gang. But a senior detective coming onto the case starts to find holes in the account police have been told.  
     
    Warning: This series discusses issues of sexual abuse, self-harm, violence and suicide 
     
    From Sky News Storycast, Unreliable Witness is presented by Jason Farrell and Liz Lane  
     
    Series Producer: Anne-Marie Bullock 
    Executive Producer: Louise Cotton 
    Sound Design: Matt Wareham 
    Additional Journalism: Sarah O’Connell 
    Sky Podcasts Editor: Paul Stanworth 

    • 33 min
    Unreliable Witness 1: Who is Ellie Williams?

    Unreliable Witness 1: Who is Ellie Williams?

    Ellie’s family and boss share their worries about her leading up to the infamous Facebook post. Unexplained injuries. Becoming withdrawn. Incessant messages. Harassment on the street. Then she started to go missing regularly. When she suddenly moves out of the family home, her family feel they’re losing contact. Eventually she turns up so badly injured she says she can’t take it any more and goes public with claims on social media that go viral and shock the nation.  
     
    Warning: This series discusses issues of sexual abuse, self-harm, violence and suicide. If you feel affected by the issues, you can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK 
     
    From Sky News Storycast, Unreliable Witness is presented by Jason Farrell and Liz Lane  
     
    Series Producer: Anne-Marie Bullock
    Executive Producer: Louise Cotton 
    Sound Design: Matt Wareham 
    Additional Journalism: Sarah O’Connell 
    Sky Podcasts Editor: Paul Stanworth 

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
78 Ratings

78 Ratings

AnnaPrekeges ,

NO ADS

I’m listening to the most recent season, haven’t yet played the others. I can’t speak for the show as a whole, only a few episodes, but from what I have seen, I say it’s fantastic!

Jack_McCoy ,

Very Interesting

Well-told British tales of crime and intrigue. Nice editing, use of music, etc. Looking forward to more.

JoeApple9999 ,

Quite fascinating story

I thought the story of the gold robbery and ensuing investigation was fascinating and educational. Definitely worth the listen.

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