A man hailed a “homeless hero” following the Manchester Arena bombing has pleaded guilty to stealing a purse and a mobile from victims of the terror attack.
Members of the public raised more than £50,000 for rough sleeper Chris Parker after he described running towards the scene of the carnage to help.
The 33-year-old said it was “gut instinct” to aid victims when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a device at an Ariana Grande concert on May 22, killing 22 people.
Parker claimed to have helped a little girl and a woman in her 60s with serious leg and head injuries in the aftermath of the blast.
“She passed away in my arms. She was in her 60s and said she had been with her family,” he said. “I haven’t stopped crying.”
But horrific CCTV footage played in court showed Parker wandering between stricken and dying victims left bleeding on the floor, the Press Association reported.
He repeatedly returned to Pauline Healey, whose granddaughter lay dying nearby, before leaning over her body and taking her handbag to steal her purse.
Within hours, he was using her bank card a local McDonald’s.
The victim whose phone was stolen cannot be named for legal reasons.
At Manchester Crown Court today, Parker pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and one of fraud.
He failed to turn up in court on Tuesday and was found hiding in the loft of a house in Halifax, West Yorkshire, where he was arrested.
Parker pleaded not guilty to five counts relating to attempted theft of a coat and bag discarded in the chaos and the use of Mrs Healey’s bank cards in the days after the attack.
Prosecutors have not pursued these charges after his guilty pleas.
Parker will be sentenced on January 30. According to judge David Hernandez, who presided over the case, a custodial sentence is “most likely”.
After his arrest Parker had been remanded in custody at HMP Manchester but was unable to leave his cell because of death threats from fellow inmates.