Homeless ‘hero’ admits theft from victims
A homeless man who was hailed a hero for helping those caught up in the Manchester bomb blast has admitted stealing from victims.
The Sun reports that callous Chris Parker, 33, stole a purse belonging to Pauline Healey, the grandmother of 14-year-old Sorrell Leczkowski who was killed in the attack.
CCTV footage played to the court showed Parker kneeling over bodies and rifling through bags in the devastating aftermath of the atrocity that killed 22 people and injured 400 others.
Well-wishers raised more than £50,000 ($87,000) for the thief as he received global acclaim for his apparently selfless actions.
Parker claimed he cradled a dying woman in his arms after the blast and wrapped a T-shirt around an injured girl - when in reality he had looted a phone from a teenage girl.
He suffered a fall from grace after he admitted two counts of theft and one count of fraud as his trial was about to start at Manchester Crown Court.
The three-day trial had been due to start yesterday but was delayed as he couldn't be found - but he was later discovered hiding in the loft of a building in Yorkshire, the court was told.
The court heard how Parker swiped Mrs Healey's purse, containing bank cards, from a handbag as she lay injured on the ground and then took her card and tried to use it in McDonald's in the following days.
He also took an iPhone 6 from the grandmother, who had 15 hours of surgery to remove shrapnel from her body and also suffered multiple compound fractures to her arms and legs.
His lawyer John Broadley said his client was sorry for his "appalling behaviour".
It emerged today Parker had been on the run for a month after he was bailed to a hostel on condition he wore an electronic tag.
Twenty-two people were killed when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a device as crowds left an Ariana Grande concert at the arena that night.
Parker said at the time: "Everyone was piling out, all happy and everything else.
"As people were coming out of the glass doors I heard a bang and within a split second I saw a white flash, then smoke and then I heard screaming.
"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 to help.
"There was people lying on the floor everywhere."
Speaking two weeks after the attack, he added: "I'm supposed to be a hero but I'm not a hero, just a normal guy, a normal regular guy.
"I ran into that Arena that night because I heard kids screaming. I had no choice."
In the aftermath of the devastating attack, Parker gained worldwide fame and his estranged mum Jessica, who had not seen him for five years, got in touch after seeing him on the news.
She travelled up to Manchester from Norfolk for the heartwarming reunion, saying: "We were having a chat and he got quite emotional.
"I said 'Do you want me to come up?' and he said 'Yes, I do. I need you mum.'"
"I said 'I wanted to come up and see you and make sure you are all right.'"
She said the pair walked to St Ann's Square, which has been filled with thousands of tributes to the victims, where Parker has been visiting twice a day.
This article originally appeared in The Sun