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‘Homeless hero’ stole phones from Manchester Bomb victims


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Chris Parker (pictured) has admitted stealing from victims and is due to be sentenced later today 

A homeless man hailed a hero after the Manchester Arena attack stole mobile phones from victims and replied ‘sorry I can’t talk now’ as loved ones tried to desperately get hold of them, a court heard today.

Chris Parker, 33, shamelessly ransacked victim’s bags following the devastating atrocity on May 22 last year.

He admitted stealing a purse belonging to Pauline Healey, whose 14-year-old granddaughter Sorrell Leczkowski was killed in the terror attack.

Parker also stone an iPhone from another victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and will today be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court.  

Parker, sporting a black goatee beard, wore a grey jumper in the dock as he appeared before Judge David Hernandez this morning.

A heartbreaking victim impact statement was read out in court today which was written by the mother of a girl whose phone was stolen by Parker.  

She spoke of the frustration caused as people tried to ring her daughters phone to find out how she was.

Parker declined calls made to the phone and sent a message back saying: ‘Sorry I can’t speak right now.’

The court was shown CCTV footage showing the immediate aftermath of the bomb, in which Parker can be seen looking through bags and taking items from them.

Parker, who initially claimed to have rushed into the venue to help in the aftermath of the blast, also took photos of the wounded as he committed his crimes.

Prosecutor Louise Brandon said it appeared that Parker took two photographs in the arena as those injured received medical treatment close by.

CCTV footage showed Parker looking through Ms Healey’s bag before the emergency services arrived to tend to her serious injuries and Parker was moved on.

Parker spent around 45 minute in the arena s and the court was also shown the photographs taken by Parker.

The court heard that Parker (pictured) stole mobile phones from victims and replied to their loved ones: 'Sorry I can't talk now' 

The court heard that Parker (pictured) stole mobile phones from victims and replied to their loved ones: ‘Sorry I can’t talk now’ 

The first was a view of the City Rooms entrance to the arena, showing the injured and those tending to them, while the second was a photo of someone seriously injured.

The third is a close up of Ms Healey’s face as she lay injured. 

Ms Brandon said Parker offered no assistance to Ms Healey or her family and admitted stealing her purse during that incident.

Parker still had the purse as late as June last year, showing it to staff at The Booth Centre, a venue in Manchester which helps the homeless.

Parker said he had got it from a woman who he had helped at the arena, who he thought had died but he later found out had survived.

Ms Brandon said Parker also stole an iPhone from a victim who cannot be named for legal reasons and deliberately sought to obstruct any attempts to locate that phone.

At 6am on May 23 Parker visited a police cordon and handed over the phone to a police officer, but he kept the purse.

As well as admitting two counts of theft, Parker admitted one count of fraud after using Ms Healey’s bank card at a McDonald’s in Manchester three times between May 23 and May 26.

Police rushed to the scene on May 22 and Parker was caught going through people's belongings following the attack 

Police rushed to the scene on May 22 and Parker was caught going through people’s belongings following the attack 

When Parker was interviewed by police. he told officers that he sold photographs on his phone to a journalist for £100.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Healey said: ‘Chris Parker has added further difficulty and upset for us to cope with things we didn’t really need to be dealing with at this time.

‘The actions of this man are truly deplorable and despicable and have taken my focus away from my health and supporting my family.

Woman whose purse was stolen by Parker as her granddaughter lay dying on the ground slams his ‘deplorable’ behaviour  

Parker admitted stealing a purse belonging to Pauline Healey, whose 14-year-old granddaughter Sorrell Leczkowski was killed in the terror attack.

CCTV footage shows Parker looking through her bag before the emergency services arrived to tend to her serious injuries and Parker was moved on.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Healey said: ‘Chris Parker has added further difficulty and upset for us to cope with things we didn’t really need to be dealing with at this time. 

‘The actions of this man are truly deplorable and despicable and have taken my focus away from my health and supporting my family.

‘I cannot understand how anyone could exploit an attack of this kind for their own gain during a scene of this destruction and tragedy.’

‘I cannot understand how anyone could exploit an attack of this kind for their own gain during a scene of this destruction and tragedy.’

Ms Healey spoke of a sense of ‘relief’ after Parker came over to her and her family, believing he was there to help.

She remembered Parker taking the bag off her back and taking out her mobile phone.

Ms Healey’s husband rang, Parker answered it and he passed the phone on to Ms Healey.

He left with her bag, and later returned with it but the purse was not there.

Parker also admitted a Bail Act offence after he failed to attend court on December 22 last year.

Prosecutor Ms Brandon said a warrant was issued for his arrest after Parker did not turn up for the first day of his trial.

West Yorkshire Police found him hiding in a loft in Halifax on the early hours of January 3 and brought to court that morning.

Recounting the events of May 22 told the court Parker was homeless at the time and living on the streets regularly.

He was at the arena that night and was initially offering some assistance but then committed the crimes he has pleaded guilty to.

Ms Brandon said that contrary to the impression he subsequently gave to the media, ‘he [Parker] was no hero’.

Ms Brandon said that although it was clear Parker offered some assistance, helping members of the public who were with someone using a wheelchair, but that this was ‘short lived’.

The court was told that Parker has 10 previous conviction, including the theft of a mobile phone from his mother, and the theft of a computer games console belonging to the children of his former partner. 

Parker (pictured) admitted stealing from victims after the attack and even sent replies back to say he could not 'talk now'  

Parker (pictured) admitted stealing from victims after the attack and even sent replies back to say he could not ‘talk now’  

Defending, John Broadley said Parker had five previous convictions for dishonesty.

Mr Broadley said: ‘Nothing that I will say in mitigation can possibly excuse Mr Parker’s behaviour that night.’

Mr Broadley added that Parker has never received a custodial sentence before and would be on the vulnerable persons wing at prison.

Parker – who is currently in ‘isolation’ at prison – has received threats, the court heard.

After he entered his guilty pleas last month, a fundraising page set up for Parker in the aftermath of the bombing was shut down.

More than £52,000 was raised for Parker after he was praised for ‘helping’ those affected.

Donations website GoFundMe confirmed donations would be returned. 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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