Teenage baby snatchers sentenced for Facebook plot
A shocking story on the Sun’s cover about a plot to steal a baby. Shantel Ullah, 20, says a teenager knocked on her front door posing as a social worker and tried to abduct son Dontae. Over pages 4 and 5 we read that Shantel handed the two-week-old child over but “snatched” him back when the smartly dressed teen began to act oddly.
The teenager then walked away.
We learn that the would-be kidnappers obtained Shantel’s details through a Facebook page offering new mums free baby clothes. And that the two girls age 17 and 18 have admitted “conspiring to kidnap Dontae and two other babies”. One, we learn, wanted a mixed-race bay to convince her Jamaican lover she had given birth to his son.
The pair pleaded guilty to conspiring to kidnap at Derby youth court. And they can’t be named because they are under age.
What’s a bit odd is why the Sun should put this on its front page? The entire story appeared in the Derby Telegraph, which tells us, “They were caught after the Normanton mother of Baby U called the police on September 21.” Whereas the Sun says the baby was “snatched balk”, the local paper puts it: “The woman then asked to hold her baby and did so before handing it back.”
Detective Sergeant Duncan Gouck, who oversaw the investigation, said: “It was very harrowing in terms of what could have happened – considering how young the babies were – and the impact on the families could have been immense. The team of officers worked tirelessly on it and we put everything else on hold. The defendants were arrested within a week of the report.”
Det Sgt Gouck said: “We don’t think the intention was to have all three babies but they were trying to select different targets.
“The conspiracy involved Facebook. They set up a fake profile, which they used to contact the mothers. Their plan was to gain the trust of the mothers so they could get their contact details. We’re not 100% sure how they identified who the new mothers were.
“All the mothers received a friend request from the profile and subsequent messages offering free baby clothes, presumably with the intention of getting their addresses and contact details from them.”
The defendants’ first target had been Baby W, in Huddersfield. However, this never moved beyond contact on Facebook. Next was the Derby case and then the baby in Wolverhampton. In this latter case, the mother became suspicious after being contacted on Facebook and did not engage with the defendants.
It’s a strange story.