Corbyn is left red-faced after blasting Tories for ‘failing’ homeless veteran… before the man was revealed to be a sex offender who attempted to rape an 87-year-old woman
- Labour leader championed homeless veteran later revealed to be a sex offender
- Jeremy Corbyn criticised the Government for ‘failing’ those who served the UK
- He shared a video featuring a ‘former British soldier’ identified as ‘Steven’
- ‘Steven’ was sex offender Stephen Rowe, who was convicted of attempted rape
- Mr Corbyn deleted a tweet blasting the Government after Rowe’s past emerged
Jeremy Corbyn and Channel 4 have been left red-faced after championing a homeless veteran who turned out to be a convicted sex offender who had tried to rape a pensioner.
The Labour leader pounced on a report from Channel 4 News featuring a sobbing ex-serviceman struggling to find somewhere to sleep for the night.
Mr Corbyn shared the video with his 1.9 million Twitter followers and wrote: ‘Time and again this Government fails those who have given so much to our country.’
In the video that was shared online thousands of times, a ‘former British soldier’ – identified as ‘Steven’ – was seen complaining that he was unable to get into a homeless shelter because ‘you have to fit the criteria’.
Convicted: Stephen Rowe, who was jailed for eight years for the offence in 2006
Jeremy Corbyn shared the video with his 1.9 million Twitter followers and wrote: ‘Time and again this Government fails those who have given so much to our country’
However, it quickly emerged that the rough-sleeper was Stephen Rowe, who was convicted of the attempted rape of an 87-year-old woman. He was jailed for eight years and put on the sex offenders’ register for life.
Sentencing Rowe at Lincoln Crown Court in 2006, Judge Michael Heath branded him a danger to women. He told Rowe: ‘You are 5ft 11in and weighed between 16 and 17st. Your victim was an 87-year-old widow, frail and vulnerable, who lived alone.’
Mr Corbyn’s video and tweet were hastily deleted, but not before a social media storm erupted over the gaffe – resulting in a fundraising effort to help Rowe being abandoned.
Last night, Tory Party chairman James Cleverly accused the Labour leader of game-playing with tragedy, saying: ‘Homelessness is both heartbreaking and complicated. Best not to try to make cheap political points from someone’s suffering.’
Channel 4 News said: ‘We were made aware of Steven – as we believed he was called – by a charity supporting homeless veterans.
Mr Corbyn’s video and tweet were hastily deleted, but not before a social media storm erupted over the gaffe – resulting in a fundraising effort to help Rowe being abandoned
‘It has since emerged he previously went by the same name but with a different spelling and that he has a more complicated past in addition to what was broadcast.’
The spokeswoman added: ‘Under the circumstances, we have decided to remove his story from our website. However, we will remain in contact with the charity to ensure he receives the help that he needs.
‘The Go-Fund-Me page which was set up for him is no longer accepting donations. All funds received will be shared among two charities that support homeless veterans and refunds are also being offered.’
It is not the first time Mr Corbyn has faced a backlash after attacking the Government on Britain’s homelessness crisis.
He led tributes to rough-sleeper Marcos Amaral Gourgel, who was found dead yards from Parliament in February. It later emerged that the 35-year-old was a paedophile who had been deported to Portugal.