A woman accused of falsely claiming to be a Grenfell Tower survivor to get free handouts and a room at the Hilton ‘thought she was untouchable’, a court heard today.
Joyce Msokeri, 47, is a ‘skilled manipulator’ who latched on to the grief of real victims so she could pocket cash and designer clothing, said prosecutor David Jeremy QC.
She is said to have benefited so much from the generosity of kind-natured members of the public that her hotel room was overflowing with gifts.
The trial of Joyce Msokeri, 47, continued today in her absence after the was taken to hospital for tests. Prosecutors described her as a skilled manipulator’ in Southwark Crown Court
Ms Msokeri is accused of falsely claiming she was a resident in Grenfell Tower, pictured, and lost her non-existent husband in the tragedy to claim a free hotel room and financial handouts, she denies three counts of fraud and one count of possessing a fraudulent document
Msokeri claimed her husband died in the blaze and ‘put on a show’, rolling around on the floor with grief when she was shown footage of a victim she claimed was her partner, Southwark Crown Court heard.
The alleged fraudster was not in court for prosecutor’s closing speech to jurors at Southwark Crown Court because she fell ill last Wednesday while in custody at HMP Bronzefield.
Judge Michael Grieve QC told the jury Msokeri had been taken to hospital for medical tests and it was not known when she would be discharged.
He said he had decided the trial – which he described as ‘unique’ – should continue in her absence.
The court heard Msokeri has no previous convictions or cautions.
‘You will hear no more evidence,’ prosecutor David Jeremy QC told the jury in his closing speech.
‘You will soon decide the case on the evidence that you have heard.’
The prosecutor claimed the evidence demonstrated her guilt ‘over and over again’.
He said: ‘The evidence in this case, if you really think about it, explains not only that she has committed these crimes but it explains why and how.
‘She got away with it for a certain amount of time because she is a skilled manipulator.’
The prosecutor said the only reason why they have been sitting through a criminal trial was because Msokeri simply ‘refuses’ to accept her guilt.
The court heard that Msokeri checked into the Westway Centre a day after the inferno ripped through the building.
Msokeri claimed she had stumbled out of the tower and was left struggling to speak properly.
But jurors heard an angry phone call Msokeri is said to have made to Sky to complain.
The prosecutor said that the audio message heard did not paint the picture of a person who was caught up in the ferocity of the blaze.
‘It did not seem as though she had problems getting sentences out as she harangued the man on the other end of the phone, did it?’
Describing the ‘fake husbands’ Msokeri is said to have made up, Mr Jeremy said that she thought she could just simply get away with it.
He said she ‘latched’ onto the grief of real victims so she could pocket money and handouts because her sole motivation was greed.
‘She didn’t blunder into this fraud – she planned it,’ he said.
‘She thought she was untouchable, she thought she could do anything.’
Msokeri, of Sutton, south London denies three counts of fraud and one count of possessing a fraudulent document.
The trial continues.
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