Homeless “hero” to zero Chris Parker has been locked up and lost £50,000 from well-wishers after admitting stealing from stricken victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.
The rough-sleeper garnered global acclaim after claiming to have helped comfort dying and injured victims moments after Salman Abedi’s suicide bombing killed 22 and left scores injured on May 22 last year.
But horrific CCTV footage played in court showed the 33-year-old leaning over the body of injured survivor Pauline Healey to steal her purse as her 14-year-old granddaughter lay dying.
Parker also snatched the mobile phone of a teenager and within hours was using Mrs Healey’s bank cards at a local McDonald’s.
Chris Parker received death threats from other inmates in prison after his arrest last year (PA)
The defendant received death threats from other inmates at HMP Manchester after his arrest last year and was later granted bail, but did not turn up for his trial on Tuesday.
Overnight he was found by police hiding in the loft of a house in Halifax, and was taken to Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday where he admitted two counts of theft and one count of fraud.
John Broadley, defending, asked for pre-sentence reports on Parker, who has a string of previous convictions, dating from 2000 to February of last year, including the theft of a purse from a woman and numerous shoplifting and burglary offences.
Mr Broadley said: “He’s tendered these pleas and all he can do in the circumstances is first of all plead guilty and apologise for his appalling behaviour that evening.”
Floral tributes left following the Manchester Arena bombing (Ben Birchall/PA)
Judge David Hernandez remanded Parker in custody for sentence on January 30, adding a custodial sentence was “most likely”.
Grim CCTV footage showed how he preyed on Mrs Healey, as her granddaughter Sorrell Leczkowski lay dying nearby, and stole the phone of another teenage victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Prosecutors said it was clear the defendant provided “some limited assistance” but that he “equally” took the opportunity to commit the thefts in the immediate aftermath of the atrocity.
Armed police at Manchester Arena after May’s terror attack. CCTV footage showed Parker going in and out of the foyer (Peter Byrne/PA)
Mrs Healey, along with her granddaughter and Samantha, Sorrell’s mother, had gone to the foyer of the Manchester Arena to meet friends and had not themselves attended the Ariana Grande concert.
The grandmother later underwent 15 hours of surgery to remove shrapnel from her body and also suffered multiple compound fractures to her arms and legs, while Sorrell’s mother was also seriously injured.
In a 20-minute compilation of CCTV footage from the arena, too graphic to be released, the defendant is seen going in and out of the foyer, walking around various parts of the entrance.
A public appeal on GoFundMe set up after the attack raised £52,539. He will not now receive the money.