A man who falsely claimed he had survived the Grenfell Tower fire has been jailed for fraud offences that cost £95,706.
Alvin Thompson, 51, was found guilty of two counts of fraud at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday.
He was sentenced to five years and six months for the first count and four years for the second count, to be served concurrently.
The court heard how Thompson approached the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council on 28 July 2017 and claimed that he had been sleeping in the tower as a homeless person for the previous two years.
He said he had escaped the tower on the morning of the fire after being woken by the smell of smoke and people shouting outside.
Thompson claimed to have been sleeping on the stairwell on the fifth floor and helped people escape, allegedly stepping over bodies as they got out.
He tried to back up his claims with letters from his doctor and requested to be diagnosed with PTSD.
Thompson told doctors that he had recurring nightmares of seeing a small child at a window in the fire, flash backs to stepping over bodies and survivor’s guilt.
He was subsequently diagnosed with extreme levels of PTSD and anxiety based on the accounts he provided to the medical professionals – now known to be false.
As a result of his false claims, Thompson received hotel accommodation, financial assistance and he was allocated permanent housing in March 2018 after living in hostels for eight months.
He also requested the permanent accommodation to be painted and re-carpeted to his liking.
The total value of the fraud amounted to £95,706.42.
Investigations later established Thompson had links to an address in Archway, north London, throwing into doubt his claim that he was homeless and living in Grenfell Tower.
His banking transactions and passport records also provided evidence he was linked to an address in Archway.
Additionally, CCTV enquiries did not capture Thompson fleeing the fire or entering the tower at any point.
DC Lisa Cook, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Anyone who attempts to profit from the tragedy that occurred at Grenfell Tower can expect to be punished to the full extent of the law.
“Thompson’s behaviour was despicable; he showed complete disregard for the suffering of those who lost their lives, and their families. Now he will have plenty of time in prison to think about what he has done.”
Seventy-two people were killed in the fire in the residential tower in Kensington.
It left scores of families homeless and has triggered a public inquiry and a criminal investigation.