Tees

Katrice Lee: Woman sentenced for impersonating missing toddler

Katrice Lee Image copyright Family Photo
Image caption Katrice disappeared after her mother left a supermarket checkout to buy crisps

A woman who used social media to impersonate a toddler missing for almost 40 years has been handed a suspended jail term.

Katrice Lee vanished on her second birthday, in November 1981, near the British military base in Germany where her father was stationed.

Heidi Robinson, 40, had pleaded guilty to a malicious communications offence.

She was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail, suspended for two years, at Wirral Magistrates' Court.

Robinson, of East Way, Moreton, Merseyside, sent a message to Katrice's family in November last year in which she claimed to be the missing youngster.

The court was told she had committed an act of "unimaginable cruelty", but it was accepted she was suffering mental illness at the time.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Robinson admitted impersonating the toddler, at Wirral Magistrates' Court

Robinson, who was also ordered to undergo mental health treatment, was made the subject of a restraining order banning her from contacting Katrice's father or sister.

In a witness impact statement Katrice's father Richard Lee, from Hartlepool, said his "well of forgiveness had run dry", and described Robinson's actions as "callous and calculated".

He described her as an "evil, calculating and manipulative individual".

Mr Lee added that for him and his family, their nightmare "continues as the scars which are left run deep".

Katrice was with her mother at a Naafi supermarket in Paderborn when she disappeared.

Mr Lee has been critical of the Royal Military Police's (RMP) initial investigation into his daughter's disappearance.

Last month officers arrested a man in connection over her disappearance and searched a terraced house in Swindon, Wiltshire, but he was released without charge.

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