Grenfell Tower fraudster: Islington man 'spun web of lies' taking advantage of tragic fire where 72 died
PUBLISHED: 17:07 27 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:17 27 November 2019
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A man from Islington who "spun a web of lies" to take advantage of the Grenfell Tower tragedy has been convicted of fraud.
Alvin Thompson, 51, defrauded the royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea out of a total of £88,860.27 by pretending to be a squatter inside the tower.
Thompson said he'd slept on the stairwells of the tower for years and used the communal doorway power point to charge his phone and make toast.
A devastating fire ripped through Grenfell Tower in June 2017, killing 72 people.
Thompson was today convicted of two counts of fraud following a trial at Isleworth Crown Court. He's due to be sentenced at the same court tomorrow.
Adeniyi Ogunleye, from the CPS, said: "Alvin Thompson spun a web of lies and took advantage of a community tragedy to make a gain for himself.
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"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. In fact, an analysis of CCTV footage months ahead of the fire did not establish a single sighting of Thompson entering or leaving the 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."
Thompson approached council workers some six weeks after the fire asking for accommodation. He claimed he had been sleeping in a cemetery in Kensal Green or Kensal Rise all this time. He also presented a burn on his hand that he initially said had come about as a result of the fire.
Thompson was put up in four different hotels, moving each time at his own request, and costing the council £59,949 between July 28, 2017 and April 5, 2018.
He was also given a £30-a-day food allowance at each hotel.
He spent 50 nights at the Park Plaza Hotel in Westminster, 32 nights at the Park Grand in Paddington and 125 nights at the Park Plaza County Hall in Waterloo before heading to the Radisson Blu Portman in Marylebone for a further 50 nights.
During this time he turned down a number of temporary tenancy properties but later accepted a permanent flat in Westbourne Park in April 2018, receiving a £2,400 package to buy any furniture he needed. The defendant then complained his new flat needed a makeover, and so it was deep-cleaned, re-painted and carpeted, costing the council a further £1,525. Thompson also requested a security camera, which was fitted for £570. The total cost of providing Thompson with the flat was £16,273.70.
Additional financial assistance for everyday items such as clothes, food and toiletries amounted to £12,637.57 and was also footed for by the council.