09/02/2018 16:20 GMT

Grenfell Tower Fraudster Anh Nhu Nguyen Jailed For 21 Months For Claiming Family Died In Blaze

Anh Nhu Nguyen had 17 aliases.

Philip Toscano/PA
Anh Nhu Nguyen, left in dark shirt, met the Prince of Wales in the aftermath of the blaze

A serial conman who pretended his family died in the Grenfell Tower blaze has been jailed for almost two years for pocketing £12,500 from the victims relief fund.

Anh Nhu Nguyen appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Friday where he was sentenced to 21 months in prison, having earlier admitted two counts of fraud by false representation and one count of making an untrue statement for the purpose of obtaining a passport.

The 53-year-old, who has 17 aliases, claimed his wife and son were killed in the 14 June disaster last year and was photographed beside the Prince of Wales when he met survivors.

As part of his deceit, Nguyen told family liaison officers a detailed story about how he had lost sight of his family in the smoke-clogged stairwell during the fire, which claimed 71 lives. 

But while a major recovery operation was under way on June 15, the fraudster was actually nine miles away at a housing charity, prosecutors told the court. 

Nguyen posed as a victim of the blaze for almost two weeks and was given about £12,500 by charities and Kensington and Chelsea Council.

Natalie Oxford/PA
Seventy-one people died in the Grenfell Tower fire

Nguyen was born in Vietnam, has been in the UK since the 1980s, is a British citizen and has 17 aliases, the court heard. 

He has 28 previous convictions for 56 offences spanning more than 30 years, including theft, dishonesty offences, arson and grievous bodily harm.

Nguyen’s sentencing was originally adjourned until December by Judge Philip Bartle to allow pre-sentence and psychiatric reports to be compiled.

However, at a hearing shortly before Christmas, Southwark Crown Court heard there had been a “failure” by probation services to make contact with the defendant and provide a report.

Judge Bartle said a psychologist had prepared a substantial 21-page report but had said it was “essential” to have access to Nguyen’s medical notes before making any final conclusions.