‘Rescuer’ of Grenfell f ire faces jail for £89k fraud
A FRAUDSTER who pretended to have helped residents escape the Grenfell Tower blaze falsely claimed £89,000 worth of accommodation and food meant for victims of the disaster.
Alvin Thompson, 51, said he had been sleeping rough in the building’s stairwell for years, using communal power points to charge his phone and make toast, and claimed he was there on the night of the blaze.
There was no CCTV footage of him entering or leaving the tower.
He approached council workers six weeks after the fire asking about accommodation, even presenting a burn on his hand that he said he received during the blaze.
Between July 28, 2017, and April 5, 2018, Thompson spent more than 200 nights at four different hotels, moving each time at his own request, at a cost of £59,949. He was also given a £30 daily food allowance.
He accepted a flat in Westbourne Park, West London, in April last year, receiving a £2,400 package for furniture, then requested a makeover for the property at a further £1,525. The total cost of the flat was more than £16,000.
Additional assistance for everyday items such as clothes, food and toiletries amounted to £12,637.57 and was also paid for by the Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council. He was yesterday convicted of two counts of fraud after a trial at Isleworth Crown Court.
Prosecutor Adeniyi Ogunleye said: ‘When council workers questioned his story, Thompson would become emotional about the trauma he had supposedly suffered or accuse them of being discriminatory.
‘However, Thompson had never lived inside Grenfell Tower. In fact, an analysis of CCTV footage months ahead of the fire did not establish a single sighting.
‘Thompson carried out his fraud for a year, diverting funds away from the true survivors of the fire and betraying the trust of everyone who gave him assistance.’
The Grenfell fire, which broke out in the early hours of June 14, 2017, left 72 dead. Thompson will be sentenced today.
Betrayal of trust: Thompson