New Orleans prosecutor Jim Garrison sits next to Senator Long of Louisiana on a crowded businessman’s shuttle flight either into or out of Washington DC. Director Oliver Stone never did tell us which in JFK, his riveting stroke ridiculous 1991 film telling of a conspiracy that assassinated a president. Long finishes his whiskey. A stewardess approaches with more drinks. “It’s a mess down there, Jim. Those Warren Commission fellows were pickin’ gnat sh*t out of pepper.”
The plot demanded talk of rifles and bookstores, angles and velocities, soon forgotten by this mesmerised cinema-goer when a much younger man. However, the Senator’s pithy truism, delivered by a world-weary Walter Matthau, lingered, dug deep, made a difference to me. Separating gnat sh*t out of pepper. Could make a career out of that.
As with Senator Long, Jim Garrison and DC, so with the British media (mainstream and otherwise) and Barrow in Furness. The trial of Ellie Williams for perverting the course of justice has concluded. Sentencing is complete. In case you’ve been trapped in a cellar for the last few weeks; guilty and eight and a half years in jail for faking injuries and a grooming conspiracy.
We begin our final approach into Walney Island airfield. Beneath, the Irish Sea’s unforgiving Cumbrian coast turns a corner into the stiller but deceptively dangerous Morecambe Bay – a treacherous stretch of shallows, mud banks and racing tides that curves for near-enough forty miles to Fleetwood.
The little airport is surprisingly busy on account of BAE. The local name for the shipyard across a narrow channel that separates Walney from Barrow-In-Furness. Sixty thousand souls live there, not quite kept prosperous enough by the three or four submarines, in various stages of construction, within the giant Devonshire Dock fabrication hall which dominates the town.
In the opposite direction, from the M6 and crossing the picturesque estuaries of the southern Lake District, Tommy Robinson approaches with van and film crew. His resulting miss-named documentary The Phantom Rape Gang is watchable, flawed and full of omissions (if you see what I mean). But parts are revealing and help us to separate the insect droppings from the spicy powder. Not least an interview with one of those accused by Ellie, Mohammed Ramzan also known as Mohammad Ramzan, Mo Rammy and Mo Rammi.
Let’s begin with a conclusion. A generation of British girls has suffered terribly as a result of an Asian Muslim night-time economy driven by drugs, alcohol, grubby premises and sexual exploitation. Rochdale, Telford, Oldham, Rotherham and many other places have passed into infamy. Added to the mix are police corruption, the race card, local Labour parties infiltrated by ethnics and a London media bubble committed to identity politics and which holds the rest of the country in contempt. The recipe is for trouble. Why should Barrow in Furness be exempt?
In interviews since the end of legal proceedings, Ellie’s mother, a Labour councillor currently suspended by the party, her father and her sister have insisted that not all of her injuries were self-inflicted and that her actions were motivated to draw attention to real events concerning herself and other local girls.
Eventually, the world and his Cumbrian country cousin may side with them – or declare them fools. Time will tell. Between now and then, chase the insects away and pass the pepper pot. While you’re at it, search for the finest sieve in the kitchen.
In his lacking journalistic effort, Robinson skips Mohammed Ramzan’s biography. In the businessman’s above-the-shop Walney Island flat, the back-slapping is mutual. Reinvented as a journalist and documentary maker, TR can’t possibly be a racist, he’s having a laugh with entrepreneur Mo. In turn, Ramzan can’t possibly be a wrong ‘un. Tommy, a former leader of the EDL, is larking with him in his front room. Robinson makes a brief mention of his new best friend’s ‘past’ and labels him ‘colourful’. Apart from that, zilch. One feels obliged to fill in the gaps.
Mohammed Ramzan hails from Bolton. Born in August 1979, he was in his twentieth year when we find his first headline. In 2000, along with two other co-defendants, he was prosecuted for an insurance scam involving a BMW and Zurich insurance.
If we fast forward to 2007, it was revealed during Ellie’s trial that in that year Ramzan was jailed for assault causing actual bodily harm after pouring petrol over his then wife and threatening to set her on fire.
In 2018, Ramzan claimed to have been living in Barrow for a decade. We must therefore assume that shortly after being released from custody he relocated to the Cumbrian coast town in about 2008.
There, as a proprietor, director or through a controlling interest, he became involved in a bewildering number of businesses under different spellings of his name, operating from flats above business premises on Walney’s Douglas Road. Other businesses are registered at the fancifully named Suite 6, Douglas House on Bolton’s Belmont Road.
They include; NH Interiors Ltd, MSH-Worldwide, Daisybud Ltd, Filethat Ltd, Pompey Eats Ltd, Just Desserts, Nelvin Ltd, Bolton Eats Ltd, Burnley Eats Ltd, Gemology UK Ltd, Crav’n, The Elephant, Gerry’s Ice Cream, Super Whip Ices, Walney Northwest Ltd, South Lakes Interiors Ltd, LD Plastering Limited, Flooring Rooms Ltd.
‘NH’ refers to Nicola Holt who Ramzan claims is his wife of thirteen years.
Son Zac, also known as Zakkie Wahab Aslam, is also a director of Global Rentals NW Ltd (based in Bolton), Chicago Chicken Ltd and Hobkirk and Son Ltd.
Many of these are Asian Muslim nighttime economy-type businesses. More follows regarding the ice cream vans and an ice cream parlour/Indian restaurant called Crav’n.
In August of 2017, Ramzan pleaded guilty to eight motoring offences. It emerged in court that he had never passed his test or held a full driving licence. His provisional licence had been revoked and he was already disqualified from driving. Part of the case referred to the previous February when police had filmed Ramzan driving for 16 miles while also using his mobile phone.
The owner of the BMW he was driving was his girlfriend from whom he had taken the car without permission. Ramzen pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention, taking a vehicle without consent, driving without a licence and driving without insurance.
Another part of the case related to May of the same year. An ice cream van driven by Ramzan was involved in a collision in which a cyclist received serious injuries. Ramzan was driving without insurance again and still did not have a driver’s licence.
He was also charged with an offence committed in February 2014 when fraudulently claiming to have had a full driver’s license for 14 years in order to obtain insurance. In fact, at the time he held a provisional licence that had been revoked, he had never held a full licence and had been disqualified from driving.
Following a series of excuses and sob stories in his defence, Ramzan was fined £100 each for both insurance charges and the offence of driving without due care and attention. He was ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work, was disqualified from driving for another 15 months and ordered to pay £85 court costs plus an £85 victim surcharge.
It emerged during Ellie’s trial that, also in 2017, police officers attended his Crav’N premises on account of, “A number of teenage girls in the establishment who obviously weren’t customers and were there for another purpose.”
Excuses and a sob story followed with Ramzan claiming to have been living in Bolton at the time on account of the death of a family member.
In February of the next year, having failed to comply with his unpaid work order and having missed appointments with the probation service, Ramzan returned to jail, this time for 28 days.
Local newspaper The North West Evening Mail reported his latest sob story beneath the sympathetic headline ‘Walney father jailed after rushing to distress call’. His former partner was now in a relationship with another man and his children were on the phone from Bolton every day.
The article’s byline, before it was removed, read ‘by Amy Fenton’. Remember that name.
Six months later, in 2018, the businessman used another Amy Fenton piece to play the race card. The article claimed his sons, Zac (18) and Harry (15) had been ‘working alongside the drivers’ to earn pocket money when they took shocking footage later uploaded to Facebook ‘appearing’ to show children as young as eight hurling racist abuse and stones at their ice cream vans in the Ormsgill area of Walney Island. Ms Fenton included a photo of a smiling Ramzan crouched next to his gleaming Super Whip and Gerry’s Ice Cream vehicles.
Four days later the newspaper claimed that the children had come forward and met Ramzan Sr at the police station to apologise. Ramzan used this second article to play the race card once more, pointing out he was born in this country and claiming it was his aim to ‘bring communities together.’
However, Ms Fenton and The North West Evening Mail were being disingenuous. They withheld from their readers that the original Facebook post had included allegations that rival van owners had paid children to abuse the Ramzans.
One of those rivals was a Mr Andy Parker who posted a response on Facebook in his defence. It read:
“Recent Facebook posts have accused established and legitimate ice cream van operators of bribing kids in Ormsgill with free ice creams to racially abuse his operators.
“Although my name hasn’t been mentioned it was directed at rival operators and there’s only two of us – but it was neither of us.
“I’ve been out of action for three weeks with broken ribs so it definitely wasn’t me.”
Prior to that, in January 2019, following concerns raised by a parent, Vickerstown Primary School circulated a letter warning parents that Ramzan ice cream van staff had been seen photographing children.
Cumbria police remained non-comital, telling the local paper that no offences had been committed.
After a complaint by Ramzan, where he said that the original complainant had ‘an axe to grind’, the school issued a grovelling apology publicised in the North West Evening Mail.
Ramzan smirked on social media that he was Pablo Escobar. The local media and police were in his pocket. He was only partially correct, with his subsequent forrays into Facebook defamation resulting in two convictions.
On July 7th of that year was questioned by the police regarding modern slavery and human trafficking in response to allegations made by Ellie Williams. As an ongoing police enquiry, nothing was said officially but rumours spread across the town.
In a busy month for the Ramzans, son Zakkie Wahab Aslam was arrested for being drunk behind the wheel of an ice cream van, claiming that following an altercation with his father he had to flee to his mother’s house in Bolton.
Ramzan Sr did himself no favours by taking to social media. He began to harass local businessman Mr McCullough, who ran a McMunchies fast food business with his brother. Personal abuse was hurled and accusations were made about the brothers’ business.
Things came to a head between the 14th and 17th of August after which the harassment was reported to the police. Comments aimed at McCullough by Ramzan included ‘fat’, ‘racist’ and ‘McNazi’. Subsequently, Ramzan appeared in court. The magistrates concluded,
“We find these posts were upsetting and unacceptable. We are satisfied that this conduct amounts to harassment. We don’t accept that this is banter.”
Ramzan was found guilty and sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work.
Ramzan also hurled abuse at Ellie Williams’s family, particularly her mother Alison Johnson and another close relative Michael Burns. The abuse included publishing a live Facebook video referring to the death of Mrs Johnson’s father, former councillor Les Burns, who drowned in an accident near Morecambe Bay’s Piel Island in 1997.
Two days after an anniversary of her father going missing, Ramzan posted a video stating that Mrs Johnson’s father had deliberately taken his own life to ‘get away’ from the family.
Ramzan was arrested, charged and successfully prosecuted. The court fined him £270 and imposed a restraining order banning him from contacting Mrs Johnson and Mr Burns for the next 12 months. He was also ordered to pay a £34 surcharge to fund victim services and prosecution costs of £135.
After the court case, Mrs Johnson said,
“There was abuse throughout the day. He published a live video in regard to my late father. He indicated that he had deliberately taken his own life to get away from us.”
At Ellie’s trial it was also revealed that Ramzan’s Facebook videos included an image of an undressed Ellie taken from an Only Fans account. When challenged, Ramzan did not deny the accusation but claimed it showed her wearing a bikini rather than being naked.
Ms Fenton had also been involved in the social media war, affectionately referring to Ramzan as ‘Mo’, abusing his detractors and ordering people to remove messages critical of him. Lurid social media claims were made about the relationship between Ms Fenton and ‘Mo’ and a possible reason she might be dependent upon him.
Ms Fenton did herself no favours the following year by being caught drug driving and in possession of cocaine, or by giving the police a false address when stopped. Appearing in court under the name of Amy Robertson, the journalist explained the cocaine in her possession as being for occasional personal use, “a couple of lines a week, usually with friends.”
Internet archaeologists had already found Amy’s previous conviction for drink driving.
In May of 2020 the police issued a statement saying there was no evidence of a grooming gang in Barrow. As we shall see in a future episode, this statement was untrue. Ellie Williams was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. Also in May, Ellie posted a long Facebook message including graphic pictures of injuries, to consternation within the local community, that she claimed to have suffered at the hands of a grooming gang. Suspicion fell upon Ramzan and others.
Lancs Live takes up the story in a January 2023 article published after the guilty verdict but before Ellie had been sentenced.
“Mr Ramzan’s windows were smashed, tenants moved out of his rental properties as they feared for their safety, and he was unable to let them out again with the windows permanently boarded up. Friends were labelled ‘enablers’ and targeted with bricks and eggs. His Porsche was keyed.”
Before playing the inevitable race card in an accompanying interview, Ramzan said,
“I was getting lots of death threats and I was in and out of the police station for 11 months. I watched as my friends deleted me from social media. Me and my wife used to be really sociable, we’d go to restaurants three, four times a week and out to bars. Before all this, I was larger than life, but then I started noticing no-one wanted to talk to me.”
I am grateful to Lancs Live for printing what we’ve all been thinking.
“But some accused Mr Ramzan of being a drug dealer.”
Perhaps they’d noticed Ramzan’s tired and emotional Facebook videos and heard his references to ‘doing sniff’? Added to which, during Ellie’s trial it was revealed a search of Ramzan’s flat had discovered a quantity of cocaine.
After Ellie’s sentencing, Ramzan and his family faced the cameras outside of Preston Crown Court. He was profuse in his praise for Cumbria Police and thanked named officers. The gratitude was short-lived. By the 18th of March the Mirror was reporting Ramzan is to sue Cumbria Police and the Home Office.
In the interview with Tommy Robinson, Ramzan had already announced the setting up of the Holt Trust. Perhaps with his own trust in mind, Ramzan is currently disputing the assets of a fund set up for Ellie.
As for no one wanting to talk to him, Puffins will be relieved to hear that Mohammed has made a new friend. The Sun reports Jordan Trengove (another of those accused by Ellie) has ‘forged a close bond with businessman Mohammed Ramzan.’ Smiling Mo and Jordan have become friends through their ordeal.
What The Sun, Tommy Robinson style, doesn’t tell its readers is that Jordan is part of the notorious Barrow Trengrove family and a very close relative of Jeffrey Trengrove whose convictions, many drug-related, are too long to list in this article.
In the next episode, amongst other things, we will demolish Cumbria Police’s claim that there was no grooming gang in Barrow and take a look at that £20,000 Ellie fundraiser set up by the interesting Shane Yerrell. Pass the sieve.
To be continued…
Selective list of sources
“Walney resident who runs Barrow takeaway involved in collision with cyclist while driving illegally”
Walney father jailed after rushing to distress call
Ice cream van owner reports his two children were targeted in racist attack in Barrow
School sorry for ‘error of judgement’ over picture claim
Driver caught drunk behind the wheel of Barrow ice cream van
Barrow man who denies Facebook harassment to stand trial
Barrow councillor Allison Johnston ‘teased over dad’s death’ in harassment case
I was falsely accused of being the leader of a grooming gang
© Always Worth Saying 2023