A Wellingborough teenager has been detained for 12 months for conspiring to kidnap three babies in what police have dubbed ‘a unique and challenging case’.
Holly Kelland, 18, and 17-year-old Codie Farrar, from Evesham, set up fake profiles on Facebook and used them to contact mothers, offering free baby clothes.
Police believed this was an attempt to get their addresses and contact details.
They were arrested after the mother of a young baby in Normanton, Derbyshire, contacted police on September 21 last year.
She told officers a young woman had been to her house claiming to be a social worker.
She said she needed to take the baby away for a medical check but the mother became suspicious and refused.
The investigation revealed that the pair had planned to kidnap two other babies in the same month – one in Wolverhampton and one in Huddersfield.
When police arrested Kelland she told officers she was pregnant but they quickly realised this was a lie.
She claimed to have attended hospital for scans during her pregnancy but the hospital had no record of her.
The court heard Kelland sent Farrar a message saying: “Don’t feel like baby chasing today.”
Prosecutor Ms Ben-Aribia said Kelland had produced a fake 3D scan and sonogram to trick people – including her own mother – into believing she was pregnant.
She added: “The matron at the maternity unit where Holly was said to be receiving treatment confirmed they had no reference of Holly accessing any maternity care.
“The matron also confirmed the 3D scan and sonogram together with a note to Holly’s partner which were found on Holly’s iPad were false.”
Kelland admitted three charges of fraud by false representation and was sentenced to a four month detention and training order to be served concurrent with her 12-month sentence.
In a victim impact statement which was read to the court, the mother of Baby U said: “After it happened I kept breaking down at the thought of what would’ve happened if my baby had been taken.
“I cried all the time, it ruined the process of having a young baby.
“Even now I don’t trust people and I don’t like being home alone.
“I also feel paranoid when going out and feel distrustful of strangers around my baby.
“Whenever I hear anybody with the same accent as the suspect who visited my house it brings it all back to me.
“I went to the doctor who has given me a prescription for anxiety and depression.”
In her victim impact statement, the mother of Baby S said: “This incident resulted in me being very frightened, it’s shaken me up really bad.
“I’ve been too frightened to go home, I’ve had to stay at my mother’s house for seven days.
“I was scared someone would follow me from my mother’s to my house.”
Elaine Stapleton, defending Kelland, said: “It is a very difficult case and a very alarming case.
“It’s a kidnap by fraud, not a kidnap by violence or threat of violence.
“At first glance it’s a very disturbing case but there are reasons behind it.
“The first real concern was that she went on to a website and produced a scan that was clearly fake in July.
“That was to support a lie that she was pregnant.
“When the police came to her home there was a nursery there fully equipped with a changing table and cot.
“There was a series of lies that she now takes responsibility for.”
The pair were sentenced to 12-month detention and training orders at a youth court sitting today (Friday).
Det Sgt Duncan Gouck said: “This was a unique and challenging investigation.
“It was incredibly serious in terms of the potential impact on the victims if the offenders had been successful in their plans to take a baby.
“My team were highly motivated and worked hard to achieve a successful result.
“As the investigation unfolded, evidence was uncovered that one of the suspects was faking her own pregnancy, which is the strongest clue we have as to the motivation behind this offence.
“The convictions would not have been possible without the assistance of the victims.
“I am pleased that the offenders have been convicted and hopefully this will help to restore the peace of mind of the victims.”
The pair both pleaded guilty to the charges at Derby Youth Court on March 14.