CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Exclusive: Couple arrested on suspicion of trying to snatch baby from hospital

Quick-thinking staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital praised by police

09 March, 2017 — By William McLennan

A COUPLE have been arrested on suspicion of planning to abduct a premature baby from Great Ormond Street Hospital.

A man and a woman arrived at the Bloomsbury hospital on Monday afternoon with a picture of a baby in an incubator, which police claim was an internet printout.

Police said the couple told staff their child had been born at 21 weeks at the Royal London Hospital, in Whitechapel, on March 1, before being transferred to the neo-natal unit at Great Ormond Street.

Hospital staff checked with the Royal London and discovered it had no record of a premature birth matching that description, police said.

Officers called to the hospital arrested a 31-year-old man and 26-year-old woman on suspicion of conspiracy to abduct a child.

Police said detectives are investigating reports that a couple “matching the same description” had attended the Royal London “enquiring about a baby” on Friday last week.

The couple have been released on bail, with the condition that they should not enter a hospital unless they are suffering a medical emergency.

Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances.

Inspector Paul Clarke said: “The actions of the staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital in making all of the necessary checks and the quick response of police in arresting a couple prevented what could have been a very frightening
and harrowing incident.”

A spokeswoman for Great Ormond Street Hospital said: “Thankfully, this type of incident is exceptionally rare. We are pleased that staff at the hospital acted so swiftly and calmly to ensure the safety of all our patients.”

Scotland Yard said: “The Met is working with partners in the NHS, including NHS Protect, to ensure the safety of all patients, visitors and staff.”

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