A TEENAGE girl has been arrested over allegations she tormented grieving mothers with photos of their dead children.
The 17-year-old was arrested at her home in Shoebury on suspicion of making malicious communications over social media.
The girl is said to have taken pictures of dead and sick children from sites such as Facebook and then sent them back to the parents with abusive messages.
She is also accused of targeting the friends of parents.
The arrest was made after a campaign by the girl’s alleged victims, who all live in the Southend area.
An Essex Police spokesman said: “Officers are investigating an ongoing offence of malicious communications. A 17-year-old girl from the Southend area is helping police with their inquiries and has been bailed until April 29.”
It is thought the alleged abuse has been going on for years with one woman telling the Echo she first received messages in October 2012.
The Echo understands some of the messages involved threats to dig up the graves of dead infants.
A Mums Against Baby Scammers Facebook page was set up by alleged victims in a bid to offer support to each other and to try to find the culprit. Parents also complained to the police.
Other malicious messages were said to have been sent on Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp and via BlackBerry Messager.
One alleged victim, a 23-year-old from Canvey who asked not to be named, said she began receiving threats against her niece and nephew after a close friend’s baby died.
She said: “Whoever is doing this seems to have a problem with young mothers in the area and their friends.”
The girl, who cannot be named because of her age, was arrested on Sunday. She was subsequently charged with assaulting a police officer and appeared at Southend Youth Court on Monday.
She remains on bail for the other offence.