≈ Comments Off on Holly Kelland/Codie Farrar – Wolverhampton/Evesham
Teenage girls given 12 months youth detention over Facebook baby kidnap plot
Two teenage girls who tried to kidnap three newborn babies after setting up a fake Facebook page offering children’s clothes to mothers were jailed on Friday for 12 months.
School friends Holly Kelland, 18, and Codie Farrar, 17, tricked one mother into sharing her contact details, including her address, on the social media site.
Farrar then turned up on her doorstep in Normanton, Derby, on September 21 last year posing as a social worker.
A court heard she told the mother she needed to take her two-week-old son away for 30 minutes for a medical assessment.
But luckily the mother became suspicious when Farrar didn’t hold the child’s head correctly and called police after the teen became nervous and left the house.
Police arrested Farrar who told them Kelland had recruited her to try and snatch the baby saying they planned to take the tot because her sister was unable to have children.
Kelland, who was 17 at the time, had set up a fake Facebook profile under a different name to contact mother’s with young children.
She had used the social network site to message the mothers telling them they had won prizes including designer baby clothes in raffles.
A court heard Kelland was faking a pregnancy at the time of the offences, which had even duped her PCSO mother, and had a “fully-equipped” nursery at her home.
The girls were jailed yesterday after they had previously admitted conspiring to kidnap three babies between September 14 and 23 last year.
They were both sentenced to 12 months detention and training orders when they appeared at Derby Youth Court.
District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “By its very nature this is a case of extreme seriousness.
“A plan was hatched to kidnap a baby, this was not followed through, fortunately only the alertness of the mother prevented an actual kidnap taking place.
“This was not a momentary decision, it was a prolonged period of action which involved the setting up of a fake Facebook account to obtain details of newborn babies and family’s details.
“It involved the travelling to areas far away from their home and masquerading as a social worker.
“The baby was held by Codie who was pretending to be a healthcare professional. The distress caused to the babies and mothers should not be underestimated.
“It’s an accepted fact that Holly recruited Codie but then on the other side Codie is the murder mystery actress who impersonates a social worker and goes to the baby’s house.”
The court had earlier heard from Kelland’s solicitor that she was suffering from mental health issues.
District Judge Taaffe added: “Such a motivation would lead to impulsive actions rather than then planned and in many ways sophisticated actions in this case.
“I would be failing in my public duty if a custodial sentence was not imposed.
“This is a very serious set of circumstances that involved planning and sophistication to take newborn babies from home addresses.
“That can only in my view be dealt with by the imposition of immediate custodial sentence.”
The court heard three mother were regularly asked for their addresses during conversations with Kelland and Farrar via their fake Facebook profile.
They first plotted to kidnap Baby W in Huddersfield, Yorks., when Kelland contacted the mother on September 14 last year.
The mum was asked if she would like some baby designer socks and was told to provide her address but gave them her mother’s because she thought it was “strange”.
Kelland, of Wolverhampton, West Mids., then contacted the mother of Baby U who gave them her address after being told she had won £100 of baby clothes or a Segway board.
The next day Farrar, of Evesham, Worcs., who had travelled to Derby with Kelland on the train, turned up at her house pretending to be a social worker.
Prosecutor Alma’s Ben-Aribia said: “On September 21 the mother called the police to report she had a two-week-old baby and a young woman had come in to her house pretending to be a social worker.
“Codie said ‘I’m a social worker and you signed something for your baby to have a medical assessment’. Codie went on to ask how old the baby was, he was two-weeks-old, and she replied ‘he is beautiful’.
“Codie then asked to hold the baby and she took hold of the baby but the mum’s alarms were raised because the woman claiming to be a social worker did not hold the baby’s head correctly.
“Codie then asked ‘do you love him?’ She said that she needed the mum to let her have the baby so she could go away and take him for a medical assessment for 30 minutes.
“The mum refused to do so and Codie became increasingly nervous and left the address. The mum informed her mother and social services were called and confirmed this was a not a bona fide visit.
“The day before this the mum had received a Facebook message from the fake account and had been offered some baby socks and it said she had won a raffle where the prize was £100 of in baby clothes or a Segway board.
“She admitted she had given out her address for these items to be posted out to her.”
The court heard the mother of Baby S, who lives in Wolverhampton, was also messaged by the fake Facebook account at around the same time.
She was even shown a video appearing to show her name being pulled out of a glass bowl in attempts to get her to give out her address but she refused.
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 the website Fake ABaby.com 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 were a series of lies that she now takes responsibility for.”
Louise Sweet QC, defending Farrar, added: “She candidly told the police the truth about her involvement. She, although 17, is described as immature for her age.”