Sister of Katrice Lee suffers 'horrific' mental health as actress admits impersonating missing girl

THE sister of a missing toddler said she has suffered ‘horrific’ mental health after an actress pretended to be her sibling online.

Friday, 11th October 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 11th October 2019, 8:11 am

Katrice Lee disappeared on her second birthday at a supermarket near a military base where her father was based in Paderborn, Germany, on November 28 in 1981.

Her sister Natasha Walker, 45, has been plagued by people impersonating Katrice, who vanished on her second birthday.

Actress Heidi Robinson, a former extra in ITVBe’s Real Housewives of Cheshire, said she ‘genuinely believed’ she was Katrice and told The News she was suffering from ‘psychosis’ at the time of the offence last November.

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The front page of The News on August 22 in 2018.

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Robinson, 40, appeared at Wirral Magistrates' Court and admitted a malicious communications offence relating to impersonating Katrice, whose mother Sharon and sister Natasha live in Gosport.

Speaking yesterday, Natasha told of her frustration at the case being adjourned for a fourth time – on this occasion for a report into Robinson’s health.

Natasha said: ‘I am relieved that she has finally admitted guilt, however I feel that she has played the system and got away with it.

Heidi Robinson, who has pleaded guilty to a malicious communications offence after impersonating missing toddler Katrice Lee online. Inset image of 18-month-old Katrice Lee. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

‘I have put in a stage one formal complaint (to police) as I feel I have been treated disgustingly it appears that if you commit a crime you are better supported.

‘The impact this has had on my mental health has been pretty horrific. My feelings have never been taken into consideration.’

When The News revealed Robinson set up a Facebook profile for Katrice last August, Natasha told this newspaper: ‘I felt sick because it was just another of those nutters but it’s quite disturbing.’

The friend request received by Natasha Walker on Facebook from a profile purporting to be her missing sister Katrice Lee. Picture: Natasha Walker

At that point – predating the malicious communications offence – Robinson had sent a Facebook friend request to Natasha.

On Wednesday Robinson admitted using a public communications network to send a message that was grossly offensive, indecent or menacing on November 3.

Yesterday Robinson said: ‘I actually believed completely that I was Katrice. I’d had mental health issues leading up to the situation.

Katrice Lee

‘I was then at the time experiencing what I now know to be psychosis.

‘I really didn’t intend to hurt the family but as I know my actions have done that, I am deeply sorry and that is why I have pleaded guilty.

‘I am now getting help and I apologise sincerely to the Lee family and my family.’

The case was adjourned until October 30 for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

District judge Nicholas Sanders said should include information on her mental health.

Katrice Lee's sister Natasha Walker from Gosport

He said: ‘Clearly at the time you were not very well but, on the other hand, what you have now admitted to also caused some very real distress to people in this matter.’

Robinson, of East Way in Moreton, in Merseyside, was given unconditional bail.

Last month, military police arrested and released without charge an ex-serviceman in connection with her disappearance and began searching a terraced house in Swindon, Wiltshire.

Heidi Robinson, who has pleaded guilty to a malicious communications offence after impersonating missing toddler Katrice Lee online. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire