Caroline Starmer, 28, claims that as she was breastfeeding her 9-month-old daughter, Paige, in a quiet corner of Leicester's Primark store on Monday, a security officer physically removed the baby from her breast.
Starmer, a mother of four, posted on the Facebook support group "Free to Feed" that the security guard approached her in the store and told her to leave. She told the security guard that she is legally entitled to feed her daughter in the store. That's when things escalated.
The mother claims that the guard, described as Asian and medium height
, pulled the screaming baby from Starmer's breast and began to walk away. Starmer also claims that she chased after the man and grabbed her baby back before leaving the store and reporting the incident to police. Starmer wrote in her Facebook post:
"The pain was excruciating, because she was pulled off my breast against her will, she instantly clamped down with her two bottom teeth causing a lot of pain to me. I was stunned, I didn't know what to do, this stranger had hold of my daughter and was walking off with her screaming while I had my breast exposed and my other daughter in the pushchair. When I regained my senses I sprinted after him and stood in front of him. I grabbed Paige off him and he just sneered at me and walked off."
Starmer's husband Stuart, 45, told Mirror:
"When Caroline rang me to tell me what happened I was sickened. I couldn't believe what had happened while she was out shopping. Since this happened Paige has not settled at all, she has been waking up screaming and crying. It's been a traumatic experience for all of us."
According to a Primark spokesman, however, the incident is not supported by any evidence. He said:
"We have investigated this customer's allegation which we naturally take very seriously indeed. The CCTV footage, reviewed by store management, shows the customer in the Leicester store quite clearly during the time in question. We can see no evidence that she was approached by anyone during this period. We have spoken to the security guards on duty. They categorically deny behaving in the way alleged. Furthermore the individuals do not fit the description given by the customer."
Due to a lack of evidence, Primark has concluded that no further action is needed on behalf of the store. The spokesman said:
"We have therefore concluded that the customer allegation is not supported by the available evidence to date. The company would obviously be happy to work with any police investigation into this incident, should this be needed."
The Leicester Police are now investigating the situation.
A breastfeeding "empowerment zone" has opened in Brooklyn to help mothers like Stramer:
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