Lying to the cops is quite a good way. Caroline Starmer did an excellent job of this, and last week she was found guilty of intent to pervert the course of justice. If you don’t live in the UK, you may have missed out on Ms Starmer’s shenanigans. Back in July, she put up a Facebook post that claimed she had been ordered out of a Primark store in Leicester for breastfeeding her baby. Worse, the security guard, she alleged, had actually taken the suckling child and told Ms Starmer that if she wanted to baby back she should follow him out of the store.
It goes without saying that within minutes the Breastapo was up in arms. Women all over Britain were sharpening pitchforks and preparing the burning torches. Mumsnet, which is the paramilitary wing of the UK smug mother movement, was particularly vociferous, but they weren’t alone by any means. Primark’s switchboard virtually melted down, there was talk of a nationwide boycott.
So far so good. However, Ms Starmer felt moved to file a police report about the incident, and this was diligently followed up, which is odd since most police forces these days don’t really care about crime unless you’re a driver. The follow up revealed something that I wasn’t too surprised by. What she claimed had happened was in fact a pack of lies. Security camera footage (strange we still use that term in this digital age) showed it never happened.
Hence the mother ended up in front of the beak at Leicester Crown Court, and the Crown Courts aren’t good places to be when you’ve been caught bang to rights. They take a pretty dim view of things when you lie to the police and to the court. Very dim indeed.
Primark acted with admirable restraint, and instead of calling her a lying, troublemaking cow merely praised its staff on their patience and understanding.’ Meanwhile the outfit that hosts the page where Starmer posted, Free to Feed, apologised to Primark, and somewhat surprisingly didn’t attempt to justify her behaviour.
‘What possesses people to fabricate lies on this level and drag everyone else down with them, will always be a mystery to us. Our good nature was completely abused by someone that we believed in good faith and wanted to help.’
Sentencing has been adjourned till December, but the judge did say that a custodial sentence was possible. That may seem a bit harsh, but the claims could have ruined the reputation and standing of the security guard, and even have led to accusations of kidnapping and/or child abuse. Courts take a pretty dim view of those crimes too.
Personally, I might go for a suspended sentence. If there’s a baby that’s breastfeeding, it needs its mum around, not behind bars. There’s also the aspect that Ms Starmer may not be fully compos mentis. Let’s be honest, her actions weren’t those of a woman with a strong grip on reality.