January 30, 2018 / 2:01 PM / 6 months ago

Homeless 'hero' jailed for stealing from British bomb victims

LONDON (Reuters) - A homeless man feted as a hero for helping the injured and dying following a bomb attack at a pop concert in Britain last year which left 22 people dead, was jailed on Tuesday after he admitted stealing from two of the victims.

Rough sleeper Christopher Parker had been in the train station next to the Manchester Arena when a suicide bomber detonated a device in the foyer at the end of a concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande. The 22 victims included seven children while more than 500 were injured.

Afterwards Parker, 33, told reporters he had rushed into the venue following the blast, comforting a badly injured girl who had lost both her legs and cradling a woman with serious head and leg wounds who died in his arms.

His story drew praise in the media and widespread public sympathy with a crowdfunding page raising more than 52,000 pounds ($73,000) to help him.

However, he was sentenced to four years and three months in jail at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday having admitted at an earlier hearing that he had stolen a purse from a woman and a mobile phone from a 14-year-old girl, both of whom had been seriously injured in the attack.

He also pleaded guilty to fraud for later using a bank card in the stolen purse at a restaurant.

“Christopher Parker entered Manchester Arena in the immediate aftermath of the explosion,” said Ben Southam from the Crown Prosecution Service.

“It was a devastating and distressing scene, and while he did offer some comfort and assistance to a number of victims who had been injured by the bomb, the evidence showed he was also looking for opportunities to take advantage of the situation.”

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison

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