England

Donna Wright sentenced for claiming to be Katrice Lee

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMagistrates heard how Donna Wright believed she was the missing girl and made contact with the family

A woman who claimed to be a missing toddler on Facebook has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Donna Wright, from Spennymoor, County Durham, admitted harassing relatives of Katrice Lee, who went missing from a shop near an army base in Germany in 1981.

Wright, 33, sent repeated messages to family members in Gosport, Hampshire.

The judge imposed a restraining order restricting her Facebook use and banning her from contacting the family.

Wright was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, after pleading guilty to a Section 2 offence under the Protection from Harassment Act at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court.

District Judge Martin Walker also banned her from posting on Katrice's Facebook page, setting up a new account or making public comments about the missing girl or her family.

He told Wright: ""It (the harassment) stops today for the sake of the family.

"It stops so you can focus on your own life rather than those of somebody else."

'Filled with dread'

The court heard how the defendant, who has been diagnosed as bi-polar, had believed she was the missing girl and had made contact with the family.

When a DNA test proved she was not Katrice, Wright continued to send messages online.

Katrice's mother Sharon, from Gosport, and father Richard Lee, from Hartlepool, believe their daughter was snatched and could still be alive.

She went missing close to the base in Paderborn where Mr Lee was serving.

Katrice's sister Natasha Lee, 39, wrote a victim statement which described Wright as "pure evil".

She said: "I am filled with dread every time I log on to Facebook in case I have a message from her.

"It is the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites