A British woman dubbed the ‘Barbie bandit’ will not be charged with burglary offences related to a string of raids by a gang targeting luxury homes in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Twenty-six-year old Georgia Wawman, who has been living with her stepmother in Argentina, gained notoriety after being accused of heading the group of burglars.
Newspapers in the UK and Argentina ran stories identifying Wawman as the so-called mastermind behind the 16 burglaries carried out by the gang.
According to the Guardian, it all started earlier this month when Wawman spent the night at the home of José Mino, her former partner and the father of her two-year-old child.
The police entered the home in the early hours of the morning to arrest a male occupant who was believed to be involved with the burglaries. For Wawman, it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and she was taken onto a police station for questioning.
Despite some reports claiming that Wawman had been charged, Laurence de Mello, the British women’s stepmother who lives in Argentina, told local press that the search warrant had been for Mino, not for her stepdaughter.
Mello told the press that while was Wawman being held for questioning she was treated badly by the Argentine police. “The police mistreated her in the most terrible way for around ten hours,” she said.
A detective also told La Nación that Wawman had shouted at the other suspects to “shut-up and not say anything”, and that it seemed like she was in command.
Wawman, however, has since been released and will not be charged in connection with the burglaries.
A legal source told the Guardian that “there’s been an investigation in recent months into the activities of three different gangs operating in the area but Wawman was never a part of that investigation”.
The young woman, who left the UK for Argentina a few years ago, has said that her “life is ruined”.
The press nicknamed the blonde Wawman, who is originally from Marlborough in the county of Wiltshire, the “Barbie bandit”. One British tabloid went as far as to track down the 26-year-old’s former school friends and elicit quotes describing Wawman as an alleged sweet stealing “troublemaker”.
Mello told the Guardian that she was “appalled” by the treatment her stepdaughter received from the tabloid press. “We would have expected much more support for a vulnerable young British woman with a two-year-old son in difficult circumstances far away from home,” she said.
Speaking to the Sun, Wawman said that after being arrested she “felt very vulnerable and threatened” and that she had heard one of the officer use a “disgusting phrase which includes the Spanish word for prostitute ‘P***’ and words which translate literally as: ‘You are the daughter of a thousand whores.”
She said that although she is completely innocent, the world will now know her as the Barbie bandit.
“I’ve been set up and humiliated by the police and my life is ruined. Anyone who knows me will tell you I wouldn’t say boo to a goose.”