‘Res­cuer’ of Gren­fell f ire faces jail for £89k fraud

Scottish Daily Mail - - The Brexmas Election - By Ge­orge Odling

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

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