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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Pair face jail after claiming £125,000 by posing as Grenfell victims



Elaine Douglas and Tommy Brooks lied about living in the tower so they could exploit aid intended for real victims.

Image:Elaine Douglas and Tommy Brooks have pleaded guilty to fraud

A man and a woman who received £125,000 after falsely claiming they lived in Grenfell Tower have pleaded guilty to fraud.

Illegal immigrants Elaine Douglas, 51, and Tommy Brooks, 52, told authorities they had lived on the high rise's 19th floor.

To explain their absence on the night of the fire in June 2017 the Jamaican nationals said they had been staying with friends.

Douglas was housed in the Radisson Blu in Kensington for 276 nights at a cost of just over £55,000 to the council.

After complaining about the food in the hotel, she was given a pre-paid credit card, running up charges of more than £11,000.

She was also handed a pre-paid Oyster card so she could travel free of charge.

Brooks also started off at the Radisson Blu before being moved to another hotel. He spent 243 nights in hotel accommodation, costing the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea more than £49,000.

Image:The pair claimed they lived on the tower's 19th floor

He racked up charges of £9,000 on a pre-paid credit card and was also given an Oyster card.

The accommodation, plus financial support, added up to £67,125.35 for Douglas and £58,396.89 for Brooks.

Following inquiries, it was found that their stories were false.

They were arrested on 1 May on suspicion of fraud and charged the following day.

On Wednesday they pleaded guilty at Isleworth Crown Court to two counts of fraud by false representation and one count of seeking leave to remain in the UK via deception.

The have been remanded and will be sentenced in July.

Detective Superintendent Matt Bonner said the pair had "exploited the aid and support intended for those most affected".

"I have spent the last seven days at the commemoration hearings, listening to the sad, harrowing and often inspiring stories about the victims who died because of the fire at Grenfell Tower," Mr Bonner added.

"I have previously described the actions of those who exploited the tragedy for their own personal gain as truly appalling.

"They also risk misrepresenting the Grenfell community as they continue to try and come to terms with their grief."

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