A MOTHER who falsely claimed that a Primark security guard took her baby from her while she was breastfeeding has avoided jail.
Caroline Starmer, 28, appeared at Leicester Crown Court today, where she received a eight month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
She previously pleaded guilty to a charge of intending to pervert the course of justice.
Judge Simon Hammond told Leicester Crown Court she had avoided jail by a whisker.
Her story made national headlines, but police charged her after Primark denied any evidence that the incident took place after checking CCTV footage from the store.
Ms Starmer, of Marshall Street, Leicester, had claimed that she was left in severe pain after her nine-month-old daughter was forcibly “grabbed from her breast” by a security guard whilst she was breastfeeding in the Humberstone Gate store in Leicester on July 13.
She also claimed that she was then ordered to leave the store.
In a Facebook post she described the experience as horrific and claimed that the security guard told her that if she wanted her daughter “I was to come and get her”.
At the time The Free to Feed group responded: “This is absolutely disgusting. Primark sort it out!! This woman deserves more than a public apology! I actually feel sick with rage.”
Ms Starmer also made an allegation of assault to police. The story was widely reported in the media at the time.
Caroline Starmer sentenced to eight months jail suspended for two years over Primark breastfeeding lie pic.twitter.com/MpkPRVyX0I
— Alexander Britton (@adbritton) December 3, 2015
Tweet: Alexander Britton is a journalist for the Press Association
Following her claims, Primark reviewed the CCTV footage and spoke to the security guards who had been on duty, and they found no evidence that Starmer had even been approached by anyone.
The company said in a statement: "We do not prohibit breastfeeding.
"In addition, any customer can request a quiet or private area within the store to breastfeed her child and our staff will do all they can to accommodate such a request.
"Please do not hesitate to ask staff for assistance."
PC Sam Church of Leicestershire Police, who worked on the enquiry, said: “A considerable amount of time was spent by officers carrying out enquiries to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the incident.
“We were able to establish that this report was false, and the incident alleged had never taken place.
“We take false reports extremely seriously. They can have a significant impact on our resources and on this occasion on the business concerned and its employees.”