Mum’s horror over baby snatching fear at Sunderland Subway

Kieran Ranson with his son
Kieran Ranson with his son

A Sunderland mum has told of the moment she feared her baby would be snatched from her arms during a visit to a city centre sandwich shop.

Jo Sawyer was in Subway, in Union Street, with her one-year-old son Harley when she said a woman sitting on a nearby table started to point her finger at her.

Subway, Union Street, Sunderland

Subway, Union Street, Sunderland

The young mum told the Echo she tried to avoid eye contact with the woman, however, she went on to pull up a seat next to her.

As her boyfriend Keiran Ranson was ordering their food at the counter, the 16-year-old said the woman began telling her to hand over her baby.

Miss Sawyer said: “I just started panicking.

“I told her to go away and that my boyfriend was coming over.

We have both been shaken up by it all.

Jo Sawyer

“She told me what was going to happen, she told me to get my food and boyfriend and go and leave my baby.

“I started screaming, and shouting she’s trying to take my baby and that’s when the police were called.

“It was absolutely terrifying. I thought she was going to snatch him from my arms and run.

“Nothing gave her the right to come up to me like that, he is my baby.”

Jo Sawyer with her son

Jo Sawyer with her son

The teenager’s ordeal happened in January, however, even now she says what happened that day still haunts the couple.

Martha Phiri, 44, of Lambton Tower, was arrested and charged with using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause fear of or provoke unlawful violence in relation to the incident which happened on January 23.

Phiri appeared at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court on February 14 where she pleaded guilty and was given a community order, fined £10 and ordered to pay £100 compensation.

Miss Sawyer, from Southwick, Sunderland, added: “It took me two weeks just to take him back to nursery.

“I didn’t want to let him out of my sight.

“We have both been shaken up by it all. I haven’t been back to the town and I won’t go anywhere with him on my own.

“I went to the court, but I couldn’t stay. When I saw her I just felt sick to my stomach.

“How can someone do that? I can’t even sleep at night.

“I keep thinking if my boyfriend hadn’t been there she could have got him.

“She has left me terrified. I can’t believe she has been given a community order.

“I’m due to start my teacher training and I’m going to have to leave him while I study, that will be hard.”