A mother who falsely claimed a Primark security guard snatched her baby daughter from her breast as she was feeding was warned she faced jail yesterday (Thurs).
Caroline Starmer, 28, said she was assaulted by the man who “physically removed” nine-and-a-half-month-old daughter Paige before ordering her to leave the shop.
But today the mother-of-four pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice after she appeared at Leicester Crown Court.
His Honour Judge Simon Hammond adjourned sentencing until December 3 but warned Starmer to expect a possible prison term.
He said: “This is a very serious matter. The court will consider a custodial sentence.”
The maximum sentence for perverting the course of justice is life imprisonment but average terms are usually ten months.
During the five-minute hearing, the court heard Starmer, of Leicester, claimed she was attacked while feeding her daughter in the Primark store in the city at 12.30pm on July 13.
Prosecutor Tina Dempster said: “She provided a witness statement to the police which was a false allegation of assault against a member of staff at Primark.”
Starmer has four children, Alffie, eight, Keira, two, and nine-and-a-half-month-old twins Paige and Freya and lives with husband Stuart, 45.
She told Leicestershire Police she was attacked by an Asian security guard moments after sitting down behind a mannequin to feed baby Paige.
Speaking at the time, Starmer said: “I was completely shocked, one minute I was feeding Paige in a discreet area of the store and suddenly I was being challenged by a security guard and he was walking off with my baby.
“He said to me ‘you can’t do that here, you will have to vacate the premises.’
“When I tried to explain my daughter needed feeding and it was my right to breastfeed wherever I wanted he just ripped Paige off my breast.
“The pain was excruciating, because she was pulled off my breast against her will, she instantly clamped down with her two bottom teeth causing a lot of pain to me.
“I was stunned, I didn’t know what to do, this stranger had hold of my daughter and was walking off with her screaming while I had my breast exposed and my other daughter in the pushchair.
“When I regained my senses I sprinted after him and stood in front of him. I grabbed Paige off him and he just sneered at me and walked off.
“I was so shocked I left the store and went straight to the police station. I rang my husband who was at home with our other kids and he was fuming.”
But she was exposed as a liar when Primark reviewed their CCTV tapes and saw no evidence of the incident.
Starmer, who was released on unconditional bail, said after the hearing: “I have been advised not to make a comment at this stage.
“I am going on my solicitor’s advice not to make a comment.”
A Primark spokesperson said: “Primark notes that Caroline Starmer has pleaded guilty to charges of perverting the course of public justice and is due to be sentenced at a later date.
“The charges had been laid in connection with an alleged incident at Primark’s Leicester store on 13 July 2015.
“Caroline Starmer alleged to police and the press that she was breastfeeding her child in our store when a security guard told her she must cease and forcibly removed the child from her. This allegation was untrue.
“The company wishes to thank its staff for their patience and understanding through this process.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to confirm that Primark will continue to work hard to ensure that all of our customers have a comfortable and enjoyable experience in our stores.
“This of course includes breastfeeding mothers, who remain welcome, as ever, at Primark.”