A man has been jailed for fraud offences in relation to the Grenfell Tower fire.
Alvin Thompson, 51 of Westbourne Park Road, W11 was found guilty of two counts of fraud at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday, 27 November.
He was sentenced at the same court today to five years and six months for the first count and four years for the second count, to be served concurrently.
.The court heard that Thompson approached the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council on 28 July 2017 and claimed that he had been sleeping in the tower as a homeless person for the previous two years, and had escaped the tower on the morning of the fire after being woken by the smell of smoke and people shouting outside.
He claimed to have been sleeping in the stairwell on the 5th floor and helped people escape, allegedly stepping over bodies as they got out.
Thompson sought to back up his story with letters from his doctor and requested to be diagnosed with PTSD. He told doctors that he had recurring nightmares of seeing a small child at a window in the fire, flash backs to stepping over bodies and survivor’s guilt.
He was subsequently diagnosed with extreme levels of PTSD and anxiety based on the accounts he provided to the medical professionals, which are now known to be false.
As a result of his claims he received hotel accommodation, financial assistance and he was subsequently allocated permanent housing in March 2018 after living in hotels for eight months.
Thompson requested the permanent accommodation was painted and re-carpeted to his specification. The total value of the fraud including hotels, financial handouts and permanent housing costs amounted to £95,706.42.
However, investigations established Thompson had links to an address in Archway, north London, throwing into doubt his claim that he was homeless and living in Grenfell Tower.
Mobile phone evidence also showed that in the months before the fire Thompson’s phone did not register overnight in the vicinity of Grenfell Tower, and instead showed that he frequented north London.
His banking transactions and passport records again provided evidence he was linked to an address in Archway.
CCTV enquiries did not capture him either fleeing the fire, or entering the tower at any point in the preceding two weeks.
DC Lisa Cook, investigating, said: “Anyone who attempts to profit from the tragedy that occurred at Grenfell Tower can expect to be punished to the full extent of the law.
“Thompson’s behaviour was despicable; he showed complete disregard for the suffering of those who lost their lives, and their families. Now he will have plenty of time in prison to think about what he has done.”