Wednesday 17 October 2018

Manchester attack 'hero' admits stealing from stricken victims

File photo dated 23/05/17 of emergency services at Manchester Arena after an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Pat Hurst

A homeless man who was hailed a hero in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing has admitted stealing a purse and mobile phone from stricken victims of the attack.

Horrific CCTV footage played in court showed Chris Parker wandering between stricken and dying victims left bleeding on the floor.

He repeatedly returned to Pauline Healey, whose granddaughter lay dying nearby, before leaning over her body and taking her handbag to steal her purse.

Parker (33) pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to two counts of theft and one of fraud.

Within hours of taking the purse of Mrs Healey, who was injured in the blast, he was using her bank card at a local McDonald's.

He failed to turn up in court on Tuesday and was found hiding in the loft of a house in Halifax, West Yorkshire, where he was arrested.

Parker pleaded not guilty to five counts relating to attempted theft of a coat and bag discarded in the chaos and the use of Mrs Healey's bank cards in the days after the attack.

Prosecutors have not pursued these charges after his guilty pleas.

Louise Brandon, prosecuting, said: "By his pleas he's admitted stealing items belonging to victims of the attack on the arena and using a bank card thereafter. I do not seek a trial on the remaining counts."

John Broadley, defending, asked for pre-sentence reports on Parker, who has a string of previous convictions, dating from 2000 to February of last year, including the theft of a purse from a woman and numerous shoplifting and burglary offences.

Judge David Hernandez remanded Parker in custody for sentence on January 30, adding a custodial sentence is "most likely".

After his arrest Parker had been remanded in custody at HMP Manchester but was unable to leave his cell because of death threats from fellow inmates.

The rough sleeper had received global acclaim and was hailed a hero after claiming to have helped comfort injured and dying victims moments after suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his home-made device.

But CCTV footage told a different story.

Press Association

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