A FRAUDSTER who pretended that he survived the devastating blaze at Grenfell Tower in London, England in 2017 is facing jail.
A trial at Isleworth Crown Court found 51-year-old Alvin Thompson guilty of two counts of fraud on Wednesday, November 27.
Thompson defrauded Kensington and Chelsea Council of £88,860 by convincing local authorities that he squatted inside the block of flats at the time of the tragedy and helped to bring residents out of the building as it was engulfed by flames. He claimed that he had slept on Grenfell’s stairwell for years and used power sockets in the lobby to charge his mobile phone and make toast.
He was subsequently put up in four hotels between July 28, 2017 and April 5, 2018, racking up a £59,949 bill for the council. At each hotel he was also given a daily allowance of £30 to buy food.
Moving each time at his own request, he spent 50 nights at the Park Plaza Hotel in Westminster, 32 nights at Padington’s Park Grand, 125 nights at the Park Plaza County Hall in Waterloo, and a further 50 nights at the Radisson Blu Portman in Marylebone.
Thompson also accepted thousands of pounds to refurbish a council-owned flat, costing the council more than £12,000.
However, Thompson was caught when police and prosecutors examined CCTV footage captured months before the fire, revealing that he did not enter or leave the tower block once.
Adeniyi Ogunleye, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said:
“Alvin Thompson spun a web of lies and took advantage of a community tragedy to make a gain for himself.
“When council workers questioned his story, Thompson would become emotional about the trauma he had supposedly suffered or accuse them of being discriminatory towards him.
“However, the prosecution case was able to demonstrate that Thompson had never lived inside Grenfell Tower.
“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. When someone is dishonest in this way it is only right that they are held to account by the justice system.”
The fire which destroyed Grenfell Tower in June 2017 was one of the UK’s worst modern disasters, claiming the lives of 72 people.
We at Euro Weekly News understand that Thompson is due to be sentenced on today (Thursday, November 28) at Isleworth Crown Court in London, England.