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Unreliable Witness | Storycast

Unreliable Witness | Storycast

Author: Sky News

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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.  
 
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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
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
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
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
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
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 BullockExecutive Producer: Louise Cotton Sound Design: Matt Wareham Additional Journalism: Sarah O’Connell Sky Podcasts Editor: Paul Stanworth
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?
A long serving doctor and his partner agree to help Alexis break out of psychiatric care and flee the country, a decision that has the potential to change all their lives. This series discusses rape and sexual assault.Credits -From Sky News StoryCast, Patient 11 is written and produced by Robert Mulhern. Reporting by Rebecca Thomas and Robert Mulhern. Editing by Paul Stanworth. Data and Forensics by Saywah Mahmood. Social Media by David Chipakupaku. Story commissioner, Dave Terris. Graphics by Kelly Casanova. Press and marketing by Anna Phelan. If you were impacted by this story please email the StoryCast team on storycast@sky.uk
Enduring long periods in solitary and having descended to the darkest reaches of psychiatric care, Alexis plots an escape, one, that if successful, will take her thousands of miles from England. This series discusses rape and sexual assault.
Undiagnosed, legally detained and separated from her daughter for more than a year, Alexis is moved to an all-male psychiatric ward on Christmas Eve, 2013. What happens next will, ultimately, bring her to the attention of the most powerful institutions in the state. This series discusses rape and sexual assault.
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 years, or that her bid to break free would bring her to the attention of UK and European law enforcement agencies. This series discusses rape and sexual assault.
Young mother and former GB youth swimmer, Alexis Quinn, agrees to enter NHS England psychiatric care following a family tragedy. She could never imagine that her three-day admission will turn into a three-year ordeal. Then undiagnosed with autism, and often the subject of 24-hour surveillance as well as long periods in solitary confinement, Alexis descends to the darkest reaches of locked-in, psychiatric care. There, she encounters the kind of threat she never could have imagined in a secure mental health hospital. In a bid to break free, Alexis plots a daring escape. Making it back to her daughter, however, will pit her against some of the most powerful institutions in the State, including the police.A warning, this series contains discussions about sexual assault.Credits -From Sky News StoryCast, Patient 11 is written and produced by Robert Mulhern. Reporting by Rebecca Thomas and Robert Mulhern. Editing by Paul Stanworth. Data and Forensics by Saywah Mahmood. Social Media by David Chipakupaku. Story commissioner, Dave Terris. Graphics by Kelly Casanova. Press and marketing by Anna Phelan. If you were impacted by this story please email the StoryCast team on storycast@sky.uk
The biggest, and very first story of the year 2000, involved a bug that was expected to impact tens of millions of lives all over the world.But unlike the Covid-19 pandemic of today, The Millennium Bug, or Y2K for short, was a computer programming problem, with predicted Armageddon-like consequences.In the months leading up to the year 2000, people feared the world was on the brink of disaster; that planes would fall from the sky, cardiac pacemakers would stop, and nuclear reactors would shut down. The problem was devastatingly simple - computers were never programmed to read dates beyond 31 December 1999. And the inability to do so, at 12-midnight on 1 January 2000, could lead to a global computer crash.Governments around the world spent an estimated $500 billion trying to fix the problem.Each individual nation had their own unique concerns. In Russia, the military moved to protect the software that secured their nuclear weapons systems. And in Western Australia, the Ministry of Justice feared an overly automated prison system would fail, allowing the opportunity for thousands of inmates and the state’s most dangerous prisoners, to escape.So, they hired Matthew Hackling, a young, unassuming cyber security engineer, who was then dispatched to the state’s most notorious prisons.Could Matthew win the race against time to prevent this millennium catastrophe?In 2021, Sky News is marking some of the century’s biggest news events through the personal stories of lives defined by unforgettable moments from the last 21-years. The Y2K Prison Bug is episode 21 — and the final instalment of StoryCast ’21.CREDITS:The Y2K Prison Bug was written and produced by Rob Mulhern.Recordings and original idea, by Tom Gillespiewith special thanks to Matthew Hackling.Archive, Simon WindsorTV treatment, Victoria Hudson-GrantDigital, Tom GillespieHead of Radio, Sky News, Dave TerrisDesign and graphics, Brian GillinghamSocial media, Sam GouldPress and Marketing, Alexandra HortonEmail: storycast@sky.ukFor more on this story, visit www.skynews/storycast21#StoryCast21
On 27 July 2012, Gary Connery pulled up his tights, adjusted his wig, and put on a dress fit for a queen. The London Olympics opening ceremony was about to get underway and the professional stuntman was all set for the biggest job of his career. With the Queen scheduled to open the Games it was decided she would make a very special, very British, entrance. The idea was that James Bond would chaperone Her Majesty to the ceremony in a helicopter, before they both parachuted into the celebrations.But selling the illusion to a billion TV viewers around the world depended on the movie making skills of director/producer Danny Boyle and the bravery of a little-known stuntman ready to wow the world.In 2021, Sky News is marking some of the century’s biggest news events through the personal stories of lives defined by unforgettable moments from the last 21 years.The Queen's Stuntman is episode 20 of the 21-part series StoryCast' 21.Credits -The Queen's Stuntman was recorded by Tom Gillespie.Production, writing and sound design by Rob MulhernSpecial thanks to our contributors, Gary Connery and Alastair BruceArchive, Simon WindsorTV treatment, Victoria Hudson-GrantDigital, Tom GillespieHead of Radio, Sky News, Dave TerrisDesign and graphics, Brian GillinghamSocial media, Sam GouldPress and Marketing, Alexandra HortonEmail: storycast@sky.ukFor more on this story log on to www.skynews/storycast21#StoryCast21
A veteran of movie cameos and music videos, Eddie Moss was one of the most successful Michael Jackson impersonators in the world in 2005, but then he took a job like no other.At the time, Michael Jackson was one of the world’s most iconic celebrities. But news headlines about his personal life and not his music had come to tarnish his reputation.Now, Jackson was due to go on trial in California on multiple charges of child abuse against a minor.The eyes of the world were watching. However, when the judge presiding over the case prevented cameras in the courthouse, it posed a major problem. How were news outlets going to communicate court proceedings to an international audience?Sky News, along with E! entertainment, decided to attempt something no one had tried before — deliver daily reconstructions of key evidence, using a cast of Hollywood actors, hired to play the main roles.None was more important, or consequential, than that of Jackson himself. But as the trial began to unfold, Eddie Moss quickly realised that his future and wellbeing were on the line too.In 2021, Sky News is marking some of the century’s biggest news events through the personal stories of lives defined by unforgettable moments from the last 21-years.Michael Jackson: The trial of the century is episode 19 of the 21-part series StoryCast ’21 CREDITS -Michael Jackson: Trial Of The Century was written and produced by Rob Mulhern and Jayne Secker.Original idea, Jonathan SamuelsSpecial thanks to our contributors, Eddie Moss, Jayne Secker and Richard JohnsonArchive, Robert FellowesTV treatment, Victoria Hudson-GrantDigital, Tom GillespieHead of Radio, Sky News, Dave TerrisDesign and graphics, Brian GillinghamSocial media, Samuel GouldPress and Marketing, Alexandra HortonEmail: storycast@sky.ukFor more on this story log on to www.skynews/storycast21#StoryCast21
On 22 July 2005, when Patricia da Silva learned that police marksman had killed a man at Stockwell Underground Station in London, she’d no reason to second-guess news reports describing the deceased as a terrorist.The capital then was on high alert. Just two weeks earlier, a series of bomb attacks killed 52 people, injured hundreds and London was left reeling.Then, on 21 July 2005, four men targeted the capital’s transport network in a carbon-copy style attack.This time, the terrorists' bombs failed to explode and they fled.So less than 24-hours after that failed attack, when Patricia left for work, she knew from news reports that police were in a race against time to catch the bombers.She’d absolutely no idea that the block of flats where she lived on Scotia Road in Tulse Hill was already under intense surveillance; that it had been linked by police to one of the terrorists — Hussein Osman, the target of the police shooting in Stockwell.Or was he?Critically, Scotia Road, Tulse Hill was much more than a location of police interest, it was home to Patricia, and her cousin — Jean Charles de Menezes, an electrician also from Brazil.On the morning of 22 July, when Patricia learned of the shooting, she couldn’t have imagined that a catastrophic chain of events had already cost Jean Charles de Menezes his life.In 2021, Sky News is marking some of the century’s biggest news events through the personal stories of lives defined by unforgettable moments from the last 21-years.Batman raids Buckingham Palace is episode 17 of the 21-part series StoryCast ’21 CREDITS - The Shooting was produced by Rob Mulhern and Tom Gillespie.Story originator, Tom Gillespie.Special thanks to our contributors, Patricia da Silva and Mark WhiteArchive, Robert FellowesTV treatment, Victoria Hudson-GrantDigital, Tom GillespieHead of Radio, Sky News, Dave TerrisDesign and graphics, Brian GillinghamSocial media, Samuel GouldEmail: storycast@sky.ukFor more on this story go to www.skynews/storycast21#StoryCast21
In September 2004, Jason Hatch dressed up in a Batman costume and broke into the grounds of Buckingham Palace. The Queen's home is protected by some of the tightest security measures in the world - but they weren't tight enough for this caped crusader, who climbed on the iconic building and made his way to the main balcony. A casual observer might have been forgiven for thinking Batman had stolen into the palace to execute a daring rescue.But in reality Mr Hatch was risking his life because he hadn't seen his children in more than eight years - and this superhero dad was set to stage a protest that would soon be beamed around the world.Would the British establishment bend to the will of Batman?In 2021, Sky News is marking some of the century’s biggest news events through the personal stories of lives defined by unforgettable moments from the last 21-years.Batman raids Buckingham Palace is episode 17 of the 21-part series StoryCast ’21CREDITS -Batman Raids Buckingham Palace was recorded by Tom Gillespie and Rob Mulhern.Production, writing and sound design by Rob MulhernSpecial thanks to our contributors Jason Hatch and Martin BruntArchive, Daniel Franklin TV treatment, Victoria Hudson-GrantDigital, Tom GillespieSky News Head of Radio, Dave Terris Design and graphics, Brian GillinghamSocial media, Samuel GouldEmail: storycast@sky.ukFor more on this story log on to www.skynews/storycast21#StoryCast21
On the evening of 26 November 2008, Director and photographer Daniela Federici was in the lobby of the five-star Taj Palace hotel, Mumbai, when Islamic terrorists began a deadly 4-day terror attack using automatic weapons and grenades. Hours before, the Australian had arrived in the Indian port city – referred to my many in India as the ‘City of Dreams’ – to begin recording for a new TV documentary series.Instead, she found herself fleeing deep into the hotel’s vast warren of corridors as the terrorists, sent from Pakistan, mercilessly hunted down and murdered guests and security personnel. Escape the Taj Mumbai is Daniela’s story of survival and ultimately, escape. In 2021, Sky News is marking some of the century’s biggest news events through the personal stories of lives defined by unforgettable moments from the last 21-years.Escape the Taj Mumbai is episode 16 of the 21-part series StoryCast ’21 CREDITS - Escape the Taj Mumbai was written and produced by Rob Mulhern Recordings by Tom GillespieSpecial thanks to Daniela Federici and Ashish JoshiDigital by Tom GillespiePresented by Jayne SeckerTV treatment, Victoria Hudson-GrantHead of Sky News Radio Dave TerrisDesign and graphics, Brian GillinghamSocial media, Chris ScottPress and Marketing, Alexandra HortonEmail: storycast@sky.ukFor more on this story visit www.skynews/storycast21#StoryCast21
The UK has a long history of exploration, however by 2016, only one astronaut, Helen Sharman, had travelled to space bearing the colours of the UK flag and no Briton had ever experienced the most demanding and perilous experience of spaceflight. That was until one January morning in 2016. Former RAF test pilot, husband and father, Tim Peake, had arrived at The International Space Station (ISS) just weeks before.When mission control discovered damage to an external power unit, Peake, and fellow astronaut Tim Kopra, were tasked with its repair - a complex undertaking, fraught with danger, which could only be executed during night orbit at 17,000 km per hour.In 2021, Sky News is marking some of the century’s biggest news events through the personal stories of lives defined by unforgettable moments from the last 21-years.Tim Peake: Britain’s first spacewalk is episode 15 of the 21-part series StoryCast ’21CREDITSTim Peake: Britain’s first spacewalk was recorded by Tom GillespieWriting, production and sound design by Rob MulhernSpecial thanks to Tim Peake and Thomas MooreDigital by Tom GillespiePresented by Jayne SeckerTV treatment, Johnny El-GiathiHead of Radio, Sky News, Dave TerrisDesign and graphics, Brian GillinghamSocial media, Chris ScottPress and Marketing, Alexandra HortonEmail: storycast@sky.ukFor more on this story log on to www.skynews/storycast21#StoryCast21
From Pauls Valley in Oklahoma, USA, Miles Hill always dreamed of joining the US Marine Corps.Growing up, family life was coloured by US military history - his grandparents served in World War Two and Korea. So when al Qaeda terrorists attacked the US on 11 September, 2001, it set in motion a chain of events that brought Hill to Iraq in 2003, as part of the Marine Corps. An idealistic 19-year-old, Hill had little understanding of geo-politics, but it was his absolute conviction that the world would be a better place without the Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi dictator had been a destabilising influence in the region since the 1990 Gulf War. Now accused of stockpiling weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) as well as forging links with al Qaeda terrorists, Hill and his fellow Marines were tasked with leading the ground invasion and deposing Hussein. On the morning of the invasion, military leaders warned of the bloodiest urban battle in US Marine Corp history. By the end of that day, Miles Hill would find himself at the centre of one of this century’s most iconic moments.In 2021, Sky News is marking some of the century’s biggest news events through the personal stories of lives defined by unforgettable moments from the last 21-years.Taking down Saddam is episode 14 of the 21-part series StoryCast ’21CREDITS ‘Taking down Saddam’ was produced and written by Rob Mulhern.Recordings and digital Tom GillespieSpecial thanks to Miles Hill and David Chater.Presented by Jayne SeckerSound Design, Rob MulhernTV treatment, Victoria Hudson-GrantArchive, Simon WindsorHead of Radio, Sky News, Dave Terris Design and graphics, Brian GillinghamSocial media, Chris ScottPress and Marketing, Alexandra HortonEmail: storycast@sky.ukFor more on this story go to www.skynews/storycast21#StoryCast21
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Comments (6)

colcot50

Another good podcast, any chance of upping the production rate?

Jan 13th
Reply

Wheels Of Steel

quality podcast anymore coming?

Dec 24th
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colcot50

Enjoyed this very much, anymore on the way?

Oct 20th
Reply

Daniel Hughes

great podcast - please do more of the same

Aug 11th
Reply

Jane harris

such an interesting podcast, looking forward to future episodes! well done sky!

Jun 26th
Reply

Kate Walker

when's part 2?

Jun 18th
Reply