Two teenage girls have been jailed for a year after plotting to kidnap newborn babies by offering free designer children’s clothes to parents through a fake Facebook page.
UK teenagers Holly Kelland, 18, and Codie Farrar, 17, set up the Facebook page under a false name in an effort to lure mothers to the site.
The duo attempted to lure their targets by advertising competitions and telling some they had won prizes in fictitious raffles and boasted rewards of designer baby clothes.
In doing so, the school friends tried to dupe naive parents in handing out both contact details and home addresses.
After receiving the home address of one mother, Farrar visited the young mother at her home, posing as a social worker and claiming she needed to take the baby away for a half-hour “medical assessment”.
However, the mother grew suspicious after noticing Farrar was holding her baby’s head incorrectly and promptly notified social services.
According to The Sun, in a victim impact statement read the court, the mother of the baby said she had not yet recovered from the experience, and had been experiencing abuse from others for letting the woman into her home.
“After it happened I kept breaking down at the thought of what could have happened if the baby had been taken,” the mother wrote.
“I cried all the time and it ruined my experience of having a young baby.
“Even now I don’t trust people and don’t like being home alone.”
The teenagers were handed 12-month detention orders for admitting to conspiracies to kidnap two other babies in September last year, frequently contacting the new mothers and asking them to hand over their addresses.
According to the Daily Mail, when sentencing the girls at Derby Youth Court, District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said this was a case of “extreme seriousness” and that the “distress caused to the babies and their mothers should not be underestimated”.
“A plan was hatched to kidnap a baby and not followed through, and fortunately it was only the alertness of the mother that prevented the actual kidnap taking place,” he said.
“It was not a momentary decision but a prolonged period of action which involved setting up of a fake Facebook account to obtain details of new-born babies and families’ details.”
Judge Taaffe also admitted that it was a known “fact” that 17-year-old Farrar was recruited by 18-year-old Kelland, but that he was not letting that notion impede the seriousness of the charges against both.
“It is an accepted fact that Holly recruited Codie, but on the other hand Codie, as a murder mystery actress, impersonated a social worker in going to the mother’s house and that’s a particularly aggravating feature in this case,” he said.