Leicester

Primark breastfeeding woman lied about security guard

Caroline Starmer outside court Image copyright PA
Image caption Caroline Starmer admitted intent to pervert the course of justice at Leicester Crown Court

A mother has admitted falsely claiming a Primark security guard took her baby from her while she was breastfeeding and ordered her out of the store.

Caroline Starmer, 28, appeared at Leicester Crown Court, where she pleaded guilty to a charge of intent to pervert the course of justice.

Starmer, of Marshall Street, Leicester, had claimed her nine-month-old daughter was grabbed from her breast.

She was warned she could be jailed when sentenced in December.

In a Facebook post, she claimed the guard took hold of her daughter and marched off towards the exit of the Humberstone Gate store in Leicester on 13 July.

The story was widely reported in the media and in interviews she claimed a male security guard grabbed the child from her breast.

Image caption Caroline Starmer claimed the incident happened at Primark on Humberstone Gate

In the post, she said she picked a quiet spot in Primark to feed her daughter but was then challenged by a security guard who asked her to leave.

"I stood my ground and stated my rights, that I can legally feed where I want," she wrote.

"Just for the security officer to physically remove my daughter from my breast and walk down the store with her, saying if I wanted my daughter, then I was to come and get her."

Leicestershire Police investigated her claims but she was charged with intent to pervert the course of justice.

Primark initially said it would investigate the allegation but after viewing in-store CCTV footage denied the incident had taken place.

In a statement after Starmer's appearance at court, the firm said: "The company wishes to thank its staff for their patience and understanding through this process."

It added that breastfeeding mothers were always welcome in Primark.

The hosts of the Facebook page on which Starmer made her original claim, Free to Feed, apologised to Primark and said there were "no winners here".

"What possesses people to fabricate lies on this level and drag everyone else down with them, will always be a mystery to us," the group said.

"Our good nature and intent was completely abused by someone that we believed in good faith, and wanted to help."

The case was adjourned until 3 December for reports to be prepared.

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