Manchester Arena bombing 'hero' jailed for theft

Updated: Jan 31, 2018, 10:35 IST | IANS

A homeless man who was earlier hailed as a hero following the Manchester Arena bombing last year has been jailed for stealing from victims of the attack

Representation pic
Representation pic

A homeless man who was earlier hailed as a hero following the Manchester Arena bombing last year has been jailed for stealing from victims of the attack. Chris Parker was hailed as a hero when he claimed he sprang into action and helped people after the bombing took place, but a CCTV footage showed him stealing from two victims and taking photos of others as they lay dying, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old had previously admitted stealing a purse and a mobile phone. "You were not the hero you pretended to be. You were just a common thief," Manchester Crown Court Judge David Hernandez told Parker while sentencing him for four years and three months. "You stole from people who were seriously injured at a time when others were either dead or dying. It is hard to contemplate a more reprehensible set of circumstances," Judge Hernandez added.

Parker pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and one of fraud after admitting using a debit card from the stolen purse. A homemade bomb was detonated at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on May 22 last year, killing 22 people and injuring many more. A CCTV footage that was played in court showed Parker leaning over injured survivor Pauline Healey and taking her handbag to steal her purse, as her teenage granddaughter lay dying nearby.

Parker later used Healey's bank card at a local McDonald's restaurant. Parker also stole a mobile phone from a 14-year-old girl who was seriously hurt in the blast. Parker will serve half his sentence in custody before being released on licence. He has also been banned from Manchester city centre for 10 years.

When the story of Parker's "heroism" was originally reported, an appeal on the crowdfunding website GoFundMe raised £52,000. However, when the story unfolded, GoFundMe declared that Parker did not receive the money and it had been returned to the donors.

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