A homeless man who had initially been deemed a "hero" for helping injured and dying victims during the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing has admitted to stealing from the victims.
Chris Parker, who stole from victims of the Manchester Arena bomb attack, has been sentenced to 4 years and 3 months. Judge sd: “You represented yourself as a hero. Sadly you were not the hero you pretended to be - you were just a common thief.” pic.twitter.com/QXjaBw9I5Q— BBC North West (@BBCNWT) January 30, 2018
Chris Parker had been deemed a "hero" after helping a few of the victims of the bombing. He had been in the train station next to the arena when the bomb detonated, and rushed to the scene to lend assistance.
After speaking with news stations about the attack, Parker had been praised by his community for claiming to give help to a girl who had lost both of her legs and holding a woman in his arms as she died.
Homeless 'hero' Chris Parker was jailed for over four years today. pic.twitter.com/e3sHEJwtae— ITV Granada Reports (@GranadaReports) January 30, 2018
After Parker's story spread, the public raised tens of thousands of dollars in the hopes that it would help the man get back on his feet and start a new life for himself.
But things took a turn for the worse.
A few months after the attack, footage recovered by the police showed Parker wandering from victim to victim, stealing from a few of them.
During his hearing, Parker admitted to the theft, stating he stole a woman's purse and a cell phone from a teenage girl. Later on he also admitted to fraud for using a bank card from the stolen purse at McDonalds.
"You were not the hero you pretended to be, you were just a common thief," said Judge David Hernandez at Parker's hearing. "It is hard to contemplate a more reprehensible set of circumstances."
Parker has received a sentence of four years and three months of jail time on two counts of theft and one count of fraud. Once he is released, he will not receive the money raised for him by the community, it has been returned back to the donors.
Parker's story was one that was supposed to be a small piece of light in an other horrifying event. It's no surprise that being homeless can drive one to do things they once thought they would never do, but regardless of one's circumstances, to see people that lay terrified and dying and to try and take advantage of the situation is heartbreaking and inhumane.
"No matter what personal circumstances you might find yourself in, to steal from injured and terrified innocent people is deplorable. Parker exploited these people when they were at their most vulnerable and needed the help of those around them," stated Police Superintendent Chris Hill. "I cannot begin to imagine what they have been through and I want to thank them for their courage."