Caroline Starmer admits fabricating Primark breast feeding row

Caroline Starmer admits fabricating Primark breast feeding row

Photo from the BBC


A public outcry was stirred in July 2015 after Caroline Starmer, a 28 year old mother from Leicester, posted on Facebook about a traumatic experience that she had had in the city’s Primark.

Ms Starmer was posting on the “breastfeeding campaign Free to Feed’s page that she fed her nine-month-old daughter in “a quiet spot” in the shop after she started crying. After five minutes, she said, the security guard approached her and asked her to leave.”

She said that she had “stood my ground and stated my rights, that I can legally feed where I want … 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“.

Apparently she also “wrote she was in “complete shock” and she has been left “a right mess” by the incident“.


What happened next?

Well, it’s all a bit unfortunate … As is often the way there is rarely a moderate and cautious internet response. As an example, Freedom to Feed said : “This is absolutely disgusting. Primark sort it out!! This woman deserves more than a public apology! I actually feel sick with rage.

The police were involved and investigated. We don’t know the full chronology, but it is clear that Ms Starmer’s claims were untrue as she appeared at Court on 24th September 2015 and pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

The case was adjourned to December for sentence.


What will she get?

We have a fact sheet on Perverting the Course of Justice. Generally speaking it is clear – anyone who commits this goes to prison.

The ‘custody threshold’ is almost always passed, but there are some cases where a suspended sentence can be imposed.

It’s impossible to know what will happen here. Much will depend on if there is any explanation for why Ms Starmer did this, whether there are any mental health issues, etc.

But we would guess a sentence in the range of 6-9 months, with the main issue being whether it can be suspended. We imagine that that question will be touch and go.

Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.


  1. Freedom To Feed have apologised to Primark and well they might. No responsible person believes everything they read on Facebook without better evidence than just it being on Facebook.

    She emphasised the height and ethnic origin of the “perpetrator” which put him at undeserved risk – to be precise it put every male security officer at the branch of the height and ethnic origin in question at risk. This could have led to a lynch mob.

    I would not suspend the sentence.

  2. On reading about cases like this, I am always inclined to ask myself, “What good a custodial sentence will do for society, or even this misguided lady”.
    Firstly it was not clear to me, if she just lied on Facebook, or whether she lied to police officers when being questioned? Is telling lies on social media ‘perverting the course of justice’?
    I suspect not.
    Years ago people were locked up for stealing a loaf of bread, but we have moved on from those days. This lady poses no threat to my safety, which is more than can be said for many violent, rough and unruly criminals that get suspended sentences of mearly a ‘slap on the wrist’. I would feel much safer if these individuals were kept off the streets.
    I actually live not far up the Thames from the Rolf Harris residence, and again feel that locking this individual up, serves no purpose what so ever. Even if these two examples are guilty, I wish we could move to a more reasonable, realistic and sensible method of sentencing rather than this imprisonment, which is simply a form of ‘retribution’.

    • “A mother-of-five has been warned she faces jail because her son did not attend lessons while he was grieving the death of his father.
      Tracey Fidler is being prosecuted by Reading Borough Council – the same authority her fiance Kris Jarvis, 39, was working for when he was hit and killed by a drunk-driver doing 70mph.
      Mr Jarvis was cycling with his friend and colleague John Morland, 30, who also died at the scene in Purley on Thames, Berkshire, in February last year.”
      It won’t be long before the jails are full of these ‘dangerous’, ‘wicked’ women, leaving all the soft and cuddly thugs to continue to be no threat to the general public what so ever.

      • It’s an old rant of mine Bernard from Bucks about focusing on people who can be criminalised rather than catching criminals and I’m in no way condoing the actions of Ms Starmer.

  3. The overwhelming unanswered question I have with this case is why? I want to ask Caroline WTAF? Right now I’m going with a tenuous grasp on reality, mental health concern, post-natal depression who knows.

  4. L-E-S If there were a Stupid Party they’d win all the elections. The like of you and me – not stupid – would be hopelessly outvoted!

  5. Captain, that had not occurred to me but I see it as well possible. She tells the lie and then can’t get out of it.

    I once hears a magistrate in the retiring room describe an order for reports with “all options open” as a very good bowel-opener and perhaps that is what the judge is thinking – scare the sh*t out of her but then suspend the sentence.