A woman has appeared at Preston Crown Court accused of fabricating text and social media messages in making false allegations of rape, sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Eleanor Williams, 19, of Barrow-in-Furness, is charged with seven counts of perverting the course of justice between October 2017 and October 2019.

A provisional trial date of August 2, 2021 was set, with an estimated length of 10 weeks, which the judge blamed on a court backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of campaigners for the teenager gathered outside the court.

Judge Brown said the delay was "due almost entirely to the current circumstances we face due to this dreadful pandemic" but he added he hoped it would be brought forward at some point.

No bail application was made to release Williams from custody, where she has been held since breaking her bail conditions on 20 May, but it was confirmed she would make a bail application at a later date.

On Friday, Jaime Hamilton QC, prosecuting, outlined a short summary of the case at Preston Crown Court, which he said involved "a number of separate but connected incidents".

The first incident was in October 2017 in which Williams made a false allegation of rape and sexual assault against a male and then manufactured evidence to support the claim, he said.

Three allegations of a similar nature were made against a second man which the Crown say was supported by evidence fabricated in text messages and social media posts by the defendant.

Williams faced two further counts in relation to an "extensive" allegation of trafficking and sexual exploitation by two men which the prosecution will say were "wholly false" and supported by fabricated messages, said Mr Hamilton.

In a separate incident, she is alleged to have invented another account of sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Judge Mark Brown, Honorary Recorder of Preston, said: "They are simply allegations at this stage, which I anticipate that in due course Miss Williams will be denying."

Louise Blackwell, QC, defending, said: "Undoubtedly, the defendant denies it."

Williams is expected to enter her pleas in a hearing at the same court in late November.