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Derrick Peters who dodged prison by claiming to be Grenfell victim jailed


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Derrick Peters was today jailed for six years after pleading guilty to perverting the court of justice and two counts of fraud

A ‘repulsive’ fraudster who pretended he was a victim of the Grenfell Tower fire to dodge a jail sentence for burglary has today been jailed for six years.

Derrick Peters, 58, was put up in the Park Grand hotel in Paddington, west London, after claiming to have lost his friend and all his possessions in the blaze on June 14 last year.

He ran up a £40,000 bill while staying in the £192-a-night room, including more than £5,000 spent on food, drink and laundry.

Peters was arrested on August 10 after burgling a nearby flat, stealing a £3,000 TAG Heuer watch, other jewellery, a passport, an Apple laptop and a Bose speaker.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea continued to pay for his room for two months while he was held on remand in Wandsworth prison.

He returned to the hotel having been handed a community order after repeating his Grenfell lies in mitigation to the judge sentencing him at Isleworth Crown Court on October 16.

The judge, who had no reason to doubt his story, said: ‘How on earth can one even begin to understand what it is like to lose a friend in a tragedy like Grenfell?’

Peters, of no fixed abode, continued the pretence and was even offered a flat meant for genuine victims of the disaster that left 72 people dead.

However, his story unravelled after Rebecca Ross, a Grenfell survivor whose father Steve Power perished in the fire, confirmed Peters had not lived with them and their three dogs as he had claimed.

Derrick Peters became the tenth person to be charged with falsely claiming benefits given to those caught up in the Grenfell disaster in July

Derrick Peters became the tenth person to be charged with falsely claiming benefits given to those caught up in the Grenfell disaster in July

Peters pleaded guilty to perverting the court of justice and two counts of fraud at Isleworth Crown Court and was sentenced to six years in jail today. He was also re-sentenced for the original burglary charge.

Judge Robin Johnson told Peters he was sure he had been previously spared jail because of his ‘brazen lie’ to the judge.

‘It was designed to pull heart strings. It succeeded, just as the similar lies were providing you with hotel accommodation and money,’ he said.

‘Your conduct from June last year was utterly disgraceful. You cheated and lied for your own ends, trading on others’ misery. There can be little mercy in such a case.’

The judge said Peters’ crimes had reached ‘such depths as any right-minded member of the public would find repulsive’.

‘Not only did you burgle a person’s house, but when caught you latched on to the same idea that had enriched you for weeks,’ he continued.

‘You advanced bogus mitigation which was designed to, and which did, spare you from condign punishment.

‘On hearing your mitigation, the sentencing judge was sufficiently moved to spare you, a person who has a long and unenviable criminal record, from prison.’

The court heard Peters has 40 convictions for 90 offences, including 24 for fraud and 73 for theft.

He is the sixth person to be sentenced for fraud relating to the Grenfell fire and received the longest prison term yet.

Elaine Douglas

Tommy Brookes

Elaine Douglas (left) and Tommy Brookes (right) falsely claimed they lived in Grenfell Tower to claim more than £120,000

In a statement read in court, Edward Daffarn, a member of the Grenfell United survivors group, said he was left ‘sickened’ by what Peters had done.

‘It is upsetting beyond words to learn the tragedy of Grenfell Tower is being used by individuals so that they can exploit our misery for their own gain,’ he said.

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

Corrinne Jones described escaping from the tower’s 17th floor with her two young children as ‘one of the most horrific things that I have experienced’.

‘I find people lying about living in a building where a considerable amount of people died as disrespectful and distasteful,’ she said in a statement.

The judge told Peters: ‘The facts of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy are well known. The effect on those who died, their families and friends, cannot be imagined by those who were not directly affected.

‘Members of the public, indeed the nation, were shocked by the dreadful event.

‘The fact that the unscrupulous sought to enrich themselves with accommodation, room service and money is the more shocking in the light of the outpouring of grief and sympathy that followed the disaster.’

As of August 2018, ten people have been charged with fraud offences relating to Grenfell, with five people put behind bars.

Among them were Elaine Douglas and Tommy Brookes, who falsely claimed they lived in Grenfell Tower to claim more than £120,000.

The illegal immigrants spent eight months living in a four-star hotel, with taxpayers footing the £400-a-night bill.

They also spent more than £20,000 on meals and clothing on pre-paid credit cards which were given to them by Kensington and Chelsea council.

Who else has been convicted over Grenfell Tower frauds? 

As of August 2018, ten people have been charged with fraud offences relating to Grenfell, with five people put behind bars.

Anh Nhu Nguyen pretended his wife and 12-year-old son were killed in the blaze so he could claim charity handouts.

He pocketed £11,270 as he was put up in hotels and given clothing, laptops and cash.

But police discovered the 53-year-old had 28 convictions for 56 offences spanning more than 30 years, including theft, dishonesty offences, arson and grievous bodily harm.

Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam, even tried to apply for a passport by claiming his had been incinerated. He was jailed for 21 months in February.

Another fraudster, Anh Nhu Nguyen, met Prince Charles during his time posing as a victim

Another fraudster, Anh Nhu Nguyen, met Prince Charles during his time posing as a victim

Elaine Douglas and Tommy Brooks falsely claimed they lived in Grenfell Tower to claim more than £120,000.

The illegal immigrants spent eight months living in a four-star hotel, with taxpayers footing the £400-a-night bill.

They also spent more than £20,000 on meals and clothing on pre-paid credit cards which were given to them by Kensington and Chelsea council.

The pair entered Britain illegally from Jamaica 16 years ago on separate flights and were ordered to leave by immigration officials only to vanish – reappearing in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy last year.  

Joyce Msokeri falsely claimed to have lost her husband in the blaze so that she could claim thousands of pounds.

The conwoman travelled 14 miles from her own flat to the tower block and convinced charity workers she had survived the inferno.

She feigned trauma to obtain handouts of £19,000 in cash, food, clothing, three mobile phones and free stays at a Hilton hotel. The 47-year-old would have received £203,000 in handouts if she had not been caught.

When Msokeri, from Zimbabwe, kept giving them different numbers for her flat in the tower block, her apparent forgetfulness was put down to trauma. She was jailed for four-and-a-half years in April. 

Mohammad Gamoota is pictured

Mohammad Gamoota is pictured

Mohammad Gamoota trawled a list of the dead then told officials his father was Abdeslam Sebbar, who had died after becoming trapped in his flat.

The 31-year-old said he had survived only because he was attending midnight prayers at his mosque when the inferno took hold.

In reality, he was not related to Mr Sebbar, 77, and did not live in Grenfell Tower, but took the details from a newspaper.

Two days later, Gamoota presented himself as a bereaved relative. He was given £500 and booked into a Holiday Inn hotel where he racked up a £374 room service bill.

He tried to claim a further £5,000 – but a technical issue with his bank account prevented the money being paid in. He was jailed for 18 months last week.

Yonatan Eyob falsely claimed £81,000 in cash and free hotel stays, as well as £11,000 towards a new permanent home.

Eyob claimed he had lived alone in a flat that actually contained a family of five who perished in Britain’s worst fire for a generation.

Neighbours said he didn’t and CCTV proved he had never been there.

He was later charged with dishonestly making a false representation for accommodation and subsistence between June 2017 and June 2018.

The 26-year-old pleaded guilty to the offences and is due to be sentenced on August 24.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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