Sunday, 15 July 2018


'Parasitic' Grenfell fraudsters who cost taxpayers £120,000 in hotel bills and living costs are jailed for total of more than six years

© Daily Mail

Two 'parasitic' fraudsters who pretended to be Grenfell Tower survivors have been jailed for a total of more than six years.

Elaine Douglas, 51, and Tommy Brooks, 52, who have been living in the UK illegally since 2002, spent more than £120,000 of taxpayers' money after being granted pre-paid credit cards and stays at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel.

The Jamaican nationals had told the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea they lived in a flat on the 19th floor.

The couple's activities were discovered a year after the tragedy when investigators realised the flat number they gave was actually on the floor below.

Douglas was jailed for three years and three months while Brooks was jailed for three years at Isleworth Crown Court today.
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The couple, who were in the UK illegally, claimed they lived on the 19th floor but were staying with friends on the night of the fire

Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Wood said: 'I regard this as a parasitic fraud in the wake of a human tragedy.'

He said both defendants had 'high culpability' in a 'planned and sophisticated' fraud.

The judge then read out a victim impact statement from genuine Grenfell resident Manuel Alves who said: 'Words cannot explain how disgusted I am that these individuals have had the audacity to commit such a stunt.

'They have violated the real victims and have abused the system that has been put in place to help us.

Prosecutor Benjamin Holt also read from two heartbreaking victims' statements.
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The pair enjoyed 243 nights at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel, in Kensington, pictured, where they could spend freely on a credit card handed to Grenfell victims

Bellal Elguenuni, who was at home during the fire, said: 'My wife and kids suffered physical and mental injuries as a result of the fire.

'My was in a coma for three weeks as was (sic) two of my children.

'I'm a community member of Grenfell United which is an organisation that was formed for fire survivors and bereaved families and to give support where needed.

'As a member of Grenfell United, I have spoken to most of the residents of Grenfell Tower and the community. I knew, and was friends with, many.

'However, the fight for justice has been stalled by the fraudsters taking advantage of such a horrific tragedy.

'This undermines our fight, deflected media coverage from the more important issues and has affected our credibility as a community.

'The impact of a crime like this goes beyond financial gain for a fraudster and threatens those seeking justice... and the 72 people that are no longer with us.

'I knew and was friends with a great many of our community who sadly perished in the fire and their loss hurt us greatly.'

In another witness statement, Edward Daffarn said: 'The impact of the fraud on the Grenfell Community has widespread and serious consequences.

'On one level, it impacts on both the bereaved and ex residents, reopening wounds that they are desperately trying to heal.

'It's upsetting beyond words to learn that the tragedy of Grenfell Tower is being used by individuals so they can exploit misery for their own gain.

'It's pouring salt on the wounds of the bereaved ex Tower residents to know that the deaths and trauma we have had to endure is seen as an opportunity for others to profit and exploit.

'I'm sickened that anyone should seek to benefit from my own misery and the misery experienced by my neighbours.'

He said in addition to the 'personal misery' the fraud has 'wider ripples'.

He said: 'Every time the words fraud and Grenfell are seen together, the collective feelings of the general public turn in a negative fashion towards our community.'

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