You can read 19 more articles this month
A SERIAL conman who pretended his family died in the Grenfell Tower fire to get his hands on thousands of pounds meant for the victims was jailed for 21 months today.
Anh Nhu Nguyen was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court for cheating charities and the Kensington and Chelsea Council of about £11,270.
Mr Nguyen span lies to family liaison officers and journalists, describing how he and his family wrapped themselves in sheets and towels before he lost sight of them in the smoke-filled stairwell on the night of last year’s June 14 inferno.
He was later photographed shaking the hand of Charles Windsor when he visited a relief centre to show his support.
But the day after the fire, which killed 71 people, Mr Nguyen — who has a previous conviction for arson — was caught on CCTV at a housing charity nine miles away appearing “happy and lighthearted,” prosecutors said.
Southwark Crown Court Judge Philip Bartle told Mr Nguyen that he would serve half his sentence in jail.
Taking into consideration the seven months he has already spent behind bars, this could see Mr Nguyen released in mid-May — before the one-year anniversary of the fire.
The judge dismissed claims from a psychological report read by Mr Nguyen’s barrister Keima Payton, that part of his motivation was to “feel part of a group, to be looked after, wanted and welcome.”
Mr Bartle said: “You knew full well what you were doing, you knew that you were taking advantage of these genuine victims at this terrible time of this terrible tragedy.”
He added that the effect the deceit had on the local North Kensington community and Mr Nguyen’s previous criminal record were both “aggravating factors” in deciding his sentence.
One former tower resident, whose statement was read out in court, said: “The actions of these fraudsters have totally ripped the heart and faith out of the Grenfell Tower community and I personally have lost the little trust I had in the system.”
One man told the court that his father, who died in the fire, lived in one of the flats Mr Nguyen claimed to inhabit, which had caused him “extreme distress”.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.