‘Homeless hero’ admits stealing from Manchester Arena attack victims
Chris Parker used injured grandmother’s debit card as she recovered in hospital
A homeless man who was hailed as a hero in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena attack has admitted stealing from the wounded.
Well-wishers raised more than £50,000 for Chris Parker in a crowdfunding campaign after TV interviews in which he described rushing towards the scene of the blast and tending to a dying victim.
However, doubts were cast on his version of events after the 33-year-old was accused of using a victim’s debit card as she recovered in hospital.
Parker failed to appear at Manchester Crown Court for the first day of his trial yesterday, but proceedings were able to begin after he was found this morning at an address in Halifax, The Guardian reports.
At earlier hearings, Parker had denied wrongdoing, but today he pled guilty to two counts of theft, one count of attempted theft, and one count of fraud by using a victim’s stolen debit card. Four other charges were allowed to lie on file.
CCTV footage shown in court showed Parker removing a purse from the handbag of injured 63-year-old Pauline Healey, “whose granddaughter Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, lay dying just yards away”, the Daily Mirror reports. He also admitted taking an iPhone from an unnamed teenage girl.
Leczkowski was one of 22 people killed after suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated an explosive device in the lobby of the stadium following a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande on 22 May 2017.
In the aftermath of the attack, Parker was heralded as a symbol of Mancunian spirit. Apparently modest, he told the Manchester Evening News at the time that he “just did what anyone would do”.
Parker will be sentenced on 30 January. Presiding judge David Hernandez said that a custodial sentence was “likely”, Sky News reports.
Parker’s lawyer, John Broadley, said his client was sorry for his “appalling behaviour”.