A MAN who falsely claimed he helped people escape the Grenfell Tower fire has been jailed for fraud costing almost £96,000.
Alvin Thompson was sentenced yesterday after being found guilty of two counts of fraud at Isleworth Crown Court. He was jailed for five years and six months.
The value of the fraud amounted to £95,706.
Thompson told authorities that he was sleeping rough in the stairwell of the block when he was awoken by the smell of smoke and people shouting.
The 51-year-old told the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council that he had lived in the tower for two years and escaped from the fifth floor, helping others to get out along the way.
He said the experience had caused him to experience post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Detailing his symptoms, Thompson said he had reoccurring nightmares in which he saw a small child at a window in the blaze, flashbacks of stepping over bodies to escape and survivor’s guilt. These accounts are now known to be false.
As a result of his claims, Thompson was diagnosed with extreme levels of PTSD and anxiety, placed in hotel accommodation and received financial support.
After eight months living in hotels, in March 2018 he was relocated to permanent accommodation, which was repainted and re-carpeted at his request.
Police investigating Thompson found that he had links to an address in Archway, north London, and reviews of CCTV footage did not capture him leaving the block during the fire or entering the building at any time in the two weeks prior.
DC Lisa Cook, who investigated the fraud, 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.”