Property consultant ‘who falsely claimed his sister and nephew were Grenfell victims to get £32,000 payout said he saw people crying in burning tower even though he was 12 miles away at the time’
- Father-of-five Abolaji Onafuye made £32,000 in donations and housing support
- Court told he said he had ‘lost his family and had nowhere to go’ after the blaze
- He is on trial for two counts of fraud by false representation, which he denies
A man accused of fraud over the Grenfell Tower blaze was actually 12 miles away on the day of the fire, a court has heard
A property consultant who falsely claimed £32,000 as a Grenfell Tower victim was in fact 12 miles away at the time of the fire, a court heard.
Nigerian father-of-five Abolaji Onafuye claimed he was living in flat 84 and that victim Zainab Deen, 32, and her two-year-old son Jeremiah – who both died in the blaze – were his sister and nephew.
Onafuye, 54, is said to have dishonestly pocketed £32,000 in donations and housing support after the inferno in west London on June 14 last year.
Prosecutors said he told authorities he had been through ‘terrible suffering’ had ‘lost his family and had nowhere to go’.
He claimed he was entitled to compensation because of the psychological trauma he suffered after watching the event in the area.
But cell site evidence showed his phone was used at least 12 miles away from the tower that day, a court heard.
Jurors heard local taxpayers in Kensington and Chelsea footed the £23,500 bill for Onafuye’s stay at the Grosvenor Hotel – and another £13,000 in living costs after he was rehoused.
Onafuye said in his police interview: ‘I was temporarily insane because I was fasting when I was arrested.
‘When I was saying I lived in Grenfell Tower in my police interview I was not in the right frame of mind. It was a hallucination.’
He claimed Zainab Deen and her son Jeremiah, who died in the fire, were his sister and nephew
The court heard Onafuye attended the Westway support centre and spoke to a volunteer there, Riaz Somir, on June 21 last year.
He told Mr Somir that he was staying in Flat 84 of Grenfell Tower but was not there on the night of the fire.
But suspicion was later aroused and Onafuye was questioned.
After his arrest, he was adamant to police that he was a resident of 84 Grenfell Tower.
He wept in interview when he described the layout of the now destroyed flat and claimed a ‘Mr Martin’ was his flatmate.
But he later claimed he had been fasting at the time and wasn’t in the right mind.
He claimed: ‘When I was saying I lived in Grenfell Tower in my police interview I was not in the right frame of mind. It was a hallucination.’
The fire in the west London tower block claimed the lives of 82 people
In court, Onafuye said: ‘I suffered mental trauma. I suffered. Why do you think that I hadn’t finished my university course. I suffered a depressive collapse.’
Asked whether he had seen a doctor about this, Onafuye replied ‘no.’
The court also heard how Onafuye had registered his NatWest bank account to the address.
But he blamed a mistake by the bank because ‘there was no motive, nor rationale to do this.’
Onafuye, of Hammersmith, denies two counts of fraud by false representation between 21 June last year and 7 June this year. The trial continues.
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