NEWS

Pair admit 125,000 Grenfell fire fraud

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Elaine Douglas and Tommy Brooks claimed they lived on the 19th floor of Grenfell Tower

Two illegal immigrants have admitted claiming more than £125,000 in relief costs by falsely posing as victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Elaine Douglas and Tommy Brooks were put up in hotels after claiming they lived on the 19th floor of the block.

They were caught when council workers discovered their flat did not exist, Isleworth Crown Court heard.

The pair, both aged 51, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation.

They also admitted one count of obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Seventy-one people died in the west London tower block fire on 14 June last year

The court heard the two Jamaican nationals, of no fixed address, were put up in hotels for almost a year and handed pre-paid credit and travel cards, all paid for by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Douglas and Brooks were also both housed in the Radisson Blu hotel in Kensington.

Douglas claimed a total £67,123.35 of relief intended for victims of the fire. She spent 276 nights in the Radisson Blu in Kensington, costing the council over £55,000.

The 51-year-old also spent more than £11,000 on a pre-paid credit card she was given when she complained about the hotel’s food.

Brooks claimed £58,396.89 of relief and stayed in the Radisson Blu and another hotel for 243 nights. He also spent over £9,000 of charges on a credit card.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Douglas and Brooks both stayed in the Radisson Blu hotel in Kensington

Prosecutor Benjamin Holt told the court the pair “claimed to have been together in the fire”.

“Both said they were residing in flat 91 on the 19th floor – flat 91 is actually on the 12th floor.”

The court heard Brooks and Douglas had managed to avoid immigration authorities for 16 years after entering the UK illegally in the early 2000s.

Mr Holt said they had tried to take advantage of a government policy introduced to allow those with insecure immigration status who had lost their homes in the fire to remain in the country for at least five years.

The pair were remanded in custody until sentencing on 13 June.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk

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