Grenfell fraudster who claimed more than £96,000 in compensation jailed

28 November 2019, 16:21

Alvin Thompson has been jailed on two counts of fraud
Alvin Thompson has been jailed on two counts of fraud. Picture: Met Police / PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

A man has been jailed after falsely claiming that he helped people escape the Grenfell Tower fire and was sleeping rough in the building for two years.

Alvin Thompson, 51, was found guilty of two counts of fraud with a total value of £95,706.

He was sentenced to five years and six months for the first count, and four years for the second count, to be served consecutively.

Thompson's claims led to him receiving hotel accommodation, financial assistance and permanent housing in March 2018 after he claimed to have been living in hotels for eight months.

He then requested the permanent accommodation was painted and re-carpeted to his specification.

Isleworth Crown Court heard how Thompson told the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council that he had been sleeping rough in the stairwell of the tower for the previous two years.

He said he escaped the blaze after being woken by the smell of smoke and people shouting inside the building.

Thompson also claimed he had helped people escape the fire and allegedly had to step over bodies to get out.

72 people died in the disaster
72 people died in the disaster. Picture: PA

The fraudster also attempted to back up his story with doctor's letters and requested to be diagnosed with PTSD after telling doctors he was experiencing recurring nightmares, flashbacks and survivor's guilt.

He was subsequently diagnosed with extreme levels of PTSD and anxiety based on his false accounts.

It was later established the Thompson had links to an address in Archway, north London, and had not been sleeping in Grenfell Tower.

Mobile phone evidence also showed that in the months before the fire Thompson’s phone never registered overnight in the vicinity of Grenfell Tower, and was instead frequently registered in north London.

His banking transactions and passport records again provided evidence he was linked to an address in Archway.

CCTV 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.”

Seventy-two people were killed in the fire in the residential tower in Kensington.

It has now triggered a public inquiry and a criminal investigation.