Caroline Starmer escapes prison for Primark lie

    Caroline Starmer escapes prison for Primark lie

    Photo from the BBC


    We covered the curious case of Caroline Starmer when she pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice on 24th September 2015.

    In brief, Ms Starmer falsely claimed that she was breastfeeding in Primark in July when a security guard approached her and ordered her to leave the store. She declined, saying that she had a right to breastfeed there. At that point, the security guard ripped her baby off her and walked out of the store.

    Ms Starmer first made the allegation on a Facebook group called Freedom to Feed. These were repeated in an interview with the local media.

    There are still no real details of why she did what she did.



    Ms Starmer was sentenced on 3rd December 2015. Back in September, we said that “we would guess a sentence in the range of 6-9 months, with the main issue being whether it can be suspended“. How did we do?

    Well, it seems that Ms Starmer was sentenced to 8 months, suspended for 2 years. So pretty much as we expected.

    There are no reports in the press of the sentencing remarks, so we have no real idea of why the Judge decided to suspend the sentence. We will return to this if more information becomes available.

    It is worth remembering that when the story broke, people were quick to condemn Primark. Maybe this case will serve as a reminder not to be too hasty in rushing to a judgment.


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


    1. I guess the Facebook mob wont hear of this conviction and sentence, and thousands will be left with the impression that a business i.e. Primark are a rude, bullying and uncaring organisation.

      Here’s what the BBC report had to say on the court proceedings ” Starmer’s defence said she lied because an unnamed friend persuaded her to do it to make money”. Judge Simon Hammond said Starmer’s lies were “carefully planned and orchestrated for financial gain”.

      Our compensation culture is driving behaviour. All these adverts for ambulance chasing lawyers offering to take up the cause for nothing are having an effect.

      • it was plastered all over the BBC several times moreso than the original story, plus BBC wrote a follow up aritcle posed a question about breast feeding and whether it had been harmed by Primarkgate together with prerequisite pic of a breastfeeding child to titillate the pervs. No worries not only has a woman been taught a lesson all breastfeeding women everyway have been conflated into this story too.

        • I think women should not be afraid to breastfeed in public and hopefully this incident has not stopped them doing so. But I note your “wimmins” comment about pervs which is your usual fall back generalised position on men’s attitudes.

          All I can say is that in a well known coffee shop last week I saw six women sat together breastfeeding their children and nobody bothered one iota….and yes there were men there.

          • Goodness it seems for all these decades I’ve been wrong about men and they are completely misunderstood. Thanks for helping me see the error of my ways.

            • The world makes progress, Lib, even those of us with a Y-chromosome. When you started writing about men many of them would have objected – and so, as you will be aware, would many women.

              But I hope no woman will ever imitate the defendant I saw in the mags’ court who was convicted of careless driving. Woman driver, of course, had to be. And before you reach for the flame-thrower: when she had the accident she was driving while breast-feeding and I stand by what I say!

    2. That’s a pity, L-E-S, although I don’t think a picture of a breastfeeding woman will titillate anyone unless she is exposing the breast not in use at the same time!
      But if harm has been done to the cause of breastfeeding (which I doubt) it is by Ms Starmer and by nobody else. She is fortunate not to have left the court in a prison van.