Mum set up baby’s dad with fake Snapchat to try to get him jailed

A mum tricked her baby’s dad with a fake Snapchat account to try and get him sent to prison for breaching a restraining order.

Christopher Burns, 19, had previously smashed a window at Courtney Henderson’s home – showering their son’s Moses basket in glass, damaging it and a play mat.

But when he was spared prison – despite having repeatedly breached a non-molestation order – she was left fuming.

As part of a suspended sentence, Burns, of Newdales Close, Beechwood, was handed a seven-year restraining order.

He wasn’t allowed to contact his ex-girlfriend, so she conned him into inadvertently Snapchatting her – then rang the police.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that when their relationship broke down, Henderson, 20, made allegations against Burns “of a domestic nature”.

Cecilia Pritchard, prosecuting, said he received the non-molestation order during family court proceedings in July last year.

He breached it with “numerous contacts by phone or social media” and by talking to her in a nightclub on August 26, 2019 and refusing to leave for two hours.

That night he broke a window at her Corbyn Street, Seacombe home and he breached the order again by phoning her.

Burns was convicted of criminal damage and three counts of breaching the order on June 2 this year.

He was given 11 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, a rehabilitation course, home curfew and the restraining order.

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Three days later, Henderson rang police and said Burns had contacted her, so officers attended her home and took a statement.

She claimed Burns had contacted her using an account named “Sam”, but she knew it was him, because the user details were his real name.

Henderson produced screenshots of a short chat, when he said “look what have you done to me”, and a recording of him video calling her, when she could see it was him.

Burns was arrested that day, taken into custody and interviewed – but he had also screenshotted and recorded events.

He proved she contacted him first on his normal account – which she renamed Sam on her phone – with a new profile called “Sarah_111”.

The conversation was in fact longer and began on June 2, when he challenged whether she was his ex, but she denied it.

Ms Pritchard said: “His view is that it seems to be an attempt on her part to have him sent to prison, because obviously if found guilty of such an offence, he would have been in breach of his suspended sentence order.”

Henderson accepted in a police interview that she had “set him up” and admitted perverting the course of justice.

Courtney Henderson walked free from court
(Image: Liverpool Echo)

In a victim statement, Burns said he had been arrested a number of times regarding his ex and felt police would always believe her over him, adding: “I’m paranoid she will continue to lie and get me sent to prison.”

He said he was relieved when he could prove he had been “set up”, stating: “If this had not been seen, I was going to prison for a year.”

Burns claimed she was using the restraining order and suspended sentence to “control” him and saw it “as one big game”.

Rebecca Smith, defending Henderson, who has no previous convictions, argued there were “exceptional circumstances” which meant the judge could spare her jail, despite official guidance about the need for “deterrent” sentences.

She said “naive” Henderson told the Probation Service it was a “stupid mistake” which she did because of “unrequited love”, which Ms Smith said showed her “immaturity”.

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The lawyer said Henderson hoped to get Burns into trouble but her ploy was quickly detected.

Ms Smith described it as “an unusual case” and said if jailed, her client’s 17-month-old son would have to live with his nan.

Ms Smith said: “She has been involved unfortunately in a cycle of domestic violence…, and ultimately she wished to remove herself from that.”

Recorder David O’Mahony said Henderson initially told police she was concerned by Burns’ supposed contact and claimed: “I fear for my safety.”

He said: “You deliberately targeted Mr Burns because you were upset with the sentence that the judge had passed.

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“You must have known there was at least a strong possibility that Mr Burns would go to prison.”

The judge said this was “unacceptable” and she had abused a restraining order put in place to protect her.

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However, he said she had spoken of an “abusive relationship” featuring a “history of controlling behaviour”, and if she was jailed, it would have a harmful impact on her child and mum.

Recorder O’Mahoney gave Henderson eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months, a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, and 180 hours of unpaid work.

Liverpool Echo – Liverpool News