How did ‘sweet’ middle class Georgia Wawman become ‘Barbie Bandit’? – Daily Mail
The British woman nicknamed the ‘Barbie Bandit’ after being arrested in Argentina has been remembered as a ‘troublemaker’ by a former school friend.
They claimed Georgia Wawman, 26, who grew up in the affluent village of Great Bedwyn near Marlborough, Wiltshire, would steal sweets and had been banned from her school prom â€“ but would ‘bat her eyelashes’ to get out of trouble.
‘She would have fitted in well at St Trinian’s,’ they added.
But other friends leapt to the mother-of-one’s defence, saying that she had never had any problems with the police and that she was ‘sweet and innocent’.
Former friends ofÂ Georgia Wawman, 26, who grew up in the affluent village of Great Bedwyn near Marlborough, Wiltshire and was arrested in Argentina last week, claimed she was a ‘troublemaker’ during her school days
Miss Wawman was arrested at gunpoint last week on suspicion of being part of a gang that carried out 16 robberies in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires, tying up their wealthy victims before ransacking their mansions.
Last night officials in the country revealed that she is accused of hiding stolen goods for her alleged gang leader ex-boyfriend, who is thought to be from a respected polo-playing family.
Her family insist Miss Wawman is innocent and say she had been intimidated by Argentinian police who sang songs about the Falklands.
They also accused the police of making her stand for two hours in handcuffs with her face towards the wall and of denying her food and water during an interrogation that lasted for ten hours.
Police sources in Buenos Aires last night denied the claims of mistreatment made by Miss Wawman’s stepmother Laura Pereira de Mello.
They said Miss Wawman has been charged with ‘aggravated concealment’ after police allegedly found a series of appliances at her home that they suspect were stolen.
Neighbours of mother-of-one Georgia Wawman, 26, have expressed their shockÂ at the arrest of the ‘lovely, sweet girl’ who was arrested in Argentina
Miss Wawman, whose father Richard is a documentary maker in Britain, is believed to have attended Kingsbury Hill House School in Marlborough – a private prep school where fees were around Â£3,000 a term before it shut down in 2004. She then went to St John’s School in Marlborough.
One former school friend said yesterday: ‘Georgia was probably the naughtiest girl at school.
‘She always hung around with the bad girls and would get in trouble for smoking and talking back to teachers. She had lots of detentions but always got out of trouble by batting her lashes.
‘She was an innocent public school girl when I first met her but she used to get in trouble at secondary school. She always used to nick sweets from the local shop.
‘She would’ve been in trouble with the police before for drinking under age â€“ we all were.
‘She was banned from the prom for being naughty but her mum went to the school and demanded that they let her go.’
But Miss Wawman’s friend Amy Jackson said she had been a ‘very normal’ girl.
She added: ‘She wasn’t a goodie two-shoes but she wasn’t as bad as some [schoolchildren] could be. She didn’t get in a lot of trouble at all in school.’
Another close friend, who became best friends with Miss Wawman after meeting her at 14, said: ‘Georgia has never been a bad person, never got into trouble with the police. I cannot believe someone so sweet and innocent could be accused of something so horrendous.’
After school, Miss Wawman later moved from Marlborough to a luxurious rural property in Argentina with her Argentine stepmother.
Several months later she relocated to Buenos Aires with her then boyfriend Jose Mino, 32, who is the alleged leader of the gang and was also arrested in the raids.
On Facebook she describes herself as a ‘full time mummy’ after having a child with her ex-boyfriend, who has served a prison sentence for burglary, in 2013.
British mother-of-one Georgia Annie Wawman was arrested in the north of Buenos Aires for her suspected role in a criminal gang which stole cash and valuables from a number of gated communities and country clubs
Neighbours of the 26-year-old, who grew up in the affluent village of Great Bedwyn near Marlborough, Wiltshire (her family home is pictured above), have now expressed their shock at the arrest of the ‘lovely, sweet girl’
Miss Angel said that after being arrested her friend was taunted by Argentine police officers who sang songs about the Falklands war. Miss Angel said they had subsequently apologised.
She added: ‘She rang me the day after it all happened in floods of tears because of the outrageous way the police treated her. She is the last person who be involved in a gang and steal.’ She said that Miss Wawman was left feeling ‘intimidated and fragile’ as officers made her stand for two hours despite knowing she was suffering from high blood pressure.
‘We talk every single day without fail and not once has she would have told not once has she told me that she has been up to anything dodgy,’ she added. ‘She would have told me.’
It came as neighbours of the 26-year-old, in the affluent Wiltshire village of Great Bedwyn, expressed their shock at the arrest of the ‘lovely, sweet girl’.
Viv Fox, 60, works in the local Post Office and said Miss Wawman was a Saturday girl there 10 years ago, when she was 16.
‘I worked with her and she was a very nice girl to work with,’ she said. ‘This is going back 10 years now.
‘All her family were very nice. That’s all I can say. I never would’ve expected this.’
Miss Wawman lived in a large detached red-brick period property in Great Bedwyn – where Kate and Pippa Middleton went to Marlborough College.
A man who lives near the family home said: ‘I know she left some years ago because she is the oldest daughter. She married an Argentine guy and that’s all I know.
‘She’s been back a couple of times. She was at school here, she is a lot older than our kids. She left at one point and went to Argentina with some chap she met travelling.
‘My son is one of her brother’s best mates so I’m not going to say much. I’ve been coaching her brother for rugby.
‘They’re a lovely family – very family orientated. And Georgia has always been a lovely, sweet girl.’
Family friend Ian Gibb, 79, said: ‘She went out to Argentina, met an Argentinian and has a child – a nice little boy.’
His wife Ann Gibb added: ‘We love her family dearly and it’s going to be very distressing for them.
‘Genuinely you will find that not many people will know her because it’s ages ago that she lived here. She was a very normal girl.’Â
Argentinian police released this photo of the items seized during the raids in the capital’s neighbourhoods of Manzanares and Del Viso. It includes police uniforms, laptops, guns and ammunition, jewellery and watches
Police say they do not suspect Miss Wawman played a key role or took part in the raids, and she has been released on bail.
The gang are thought to have carried out at least 16 robberies in upmarket northern suburbs of the Argentine capital, CampaÃ±a, Escobar and Zarate. Police said the group dressed as officers to avoid detection as they looked for homes to target.
They then scaled, dug under or cut through perimeter fences of the gated communities at night before breaking into mansions.
Local reports said the gang used latex gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints, while wigs and other items were used to mask their appearances.
Police haven’t yet ruled out the possibility that the gang were involved in other unsolved robberies in the area.
‘Normal childhood’: Miss Wawman’s father Richard (pictured) is a documentary film maker in the UK
During raids to arrest the alleged gang members, police seized a huge haul of goods, including laptops, jewellery, watches and cameras. They also found weapons and ammunition, as well as walkie-talkies, a wig, handcuffs and a balaclava.
According to newspaper reports, the gang’s haul was worth the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Investigators described Miss Wawman’s ex-boyfriend Mr Mino, who was also arrested, as the leader of the gang and revealed he has previously been jailed for burglary.
Mr Mino, 32, with whom Miss Wawman had a child in 2013, is believed to be from a well-respected family and his two brothers are polo players who have compete globally.
Five other Argentinian men, aged 19 to 44, including a 22-year-old horse trainer nicknamed ‘The Dog’, and a 31-year-old woman from Paraguay were also arrested.
Since her arrest, Miss Warman’s family have insisted she is completely innocent and the victim of anti-English abuse.
Friends described the mother-of-one as being ‘very nice’ and ‘not a wild child’.
Her stepmother Laura Pereira de Mello released a statement to local media earlier this week insisting she is innocent and accusing police officers of mistreating her.
‘The police mistreated her in the most terrible way,’ said Ms de Mello. ‘They insulted her and an official sang her a song about the Falkland Islands which really intimidated her.
‘Then a doctor checked her and discovered she had high blood pressure and told the police she needed to rest. However they made her stand up for two hours, handcuffed, with her face against a wall.’
Miss de Mello, an investigative journalist and TV producer, also said Miss Wawman was only caught up in the police raid because she was staying overnight with her son and Mr Mino, from whom she has separated, at his flat last Thursday, adding: ‘The search warrant was for her ex-boyfriend, not her.’
She also said that officers broke down the door of the property in the neighbourhood of Manzanares at 5am and pointed guns at Miss Wawman as she slept beside her son.
Miss Wawman, who attended Charters School in Sunningdale near Ascot and describes herself as a ‘full time mummy’ online,Â is said to be accused ofÂ of hiding stolen goods for her alleged gang leader ex-boyfriend
‘Sweet girl’: The home Ms Wawman is believed to have shared with her father when she was still living in Ascot
An email sent to the Spanish-language news site Clarin, believed to be sent by Ms de Mello, read: ‘After a short while the police said they were very sorry and there had been a mistake. Then they told her she had to accompany them to the police station to sign some forms.’
The email claimed that Miss Wawman had her iPad and her phone confiscated by police and wasn’t allowed to make any calls. In a Facebook post just days before her arrest, Miss Wawman wrote: ‘This year is gonna to be a good one [sic].’
Her father Richard, who has directed dozens of documentaries, said he did not want to comment on her arrest.
Gary Roberts, a friend of Mr Wawman, said: ‘She had a perfectly normal childhood and was never involved in anything like this.
‘She was not a wild child or anything like that. I’ve always known has as a sweet girl who is very nice.’
Mr Mino’s family said the allegations against him and Miss Wawman were ‘completely wrong’.Â