MANCHESTER: A homeless man who had been hailed as a hero following the Manchester Arena attack last year has admitted to stealing from victims.
Chris Parker, 33, pleaded guilty at Manchester crown court today (Wednesday, January 3). He admitted to two counts of theft and one count of fraud. The prosecution decided to drop five other counts.
Parker had been accused of stealing a purse belonging to one victim, Pauline Healey, who was seriously injured in the bombing and lost her 14-year-old granddaughter in the attack. CCTV showed Parker going through Healey’s bag as her granddaughter lay dying. He also admitted to using Healey’s bank card at a Manchester branch of McDonald’s in the days following the attack.
Parker has also admitted to stealing a mobile phone from a teenage girl caught up in the attack last May. The victim cannot be named due to her age.
Parker had been expected to stand trial on Tuesday (January 2) but failed to appear. After his electronic tag was found in an empty soup tin outside his bail hostel in Halifax, an arrest warrant was issued. Parker was eventually found on Wednesday morning hiding in a loft.
Parker will be sentenced on January 30 and has been told to expect a prison sentence. Judge David Hernandez said: “A custodial sentence is most likely in this case.”
Speaking to the Press Association following the Manchester Arena bombing, Parker – who initially gave his name as Stephen Jones – had said: “It knocked me to the floor and then I got up and instead of running away, my gut instinct was to run back and try and help.”