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.