Another man jailed for fraud over Grenfell Tower fire tragedy

A tube train passes through Latimer Road station near the burned-out shell of Grenfell Tower block in west London on May 25, 2018.
A tube train passes through Latimer Road station near the burned-out shell of Grenfell Tower block in west London on May 25, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - A man was jailed on Friday (June 1) after falsely claiming his father had died in London's Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in order to claim financial benefit.

Mohammad Gamoota, 31, was sentenced to 18 months behind bars at a London court, one of several people prosecuted for attempting to profit from the 2017 disaster.

He pleaded guilty to fraud after admitting he received £500 (S$894) in cash and more than £1,250 in hotel accommodation and room service while posing as a victim.

The court heard he had applied unsuccessfully for a further £4,500 in aid.

Prosecutor Kate Mulholland said the case was "premeditated", noting Gamoota had made internet searches using the words "Grenfell Tower fraud".

He researched a newspaper article about one of the dozens of real victims of the fire, and used their name and details to make his claims sound more convincing.

He was arrested in October after disappearing when authorities grew suspicious.

 
 
 

Mulholland told the court the defendant had really lived with his mother in Croydon, on the other side of London from the disaster site.

The conviction come as the first anniversary of Britain's deadliest blaze approaches.

The fire in the 24-storey residential west London tower in the early hours of June 14 claimed the lives of 71 people and an unborn child.

It started with a faulty refrigerator on the fourth floor and rapidly spread up new cladding installed on the exterior.

Serial fraudster Anh Nhu Nguyen, 53, was jailed for 21 months in February after pretending his family was killed in the block to claim relief funds.

Meanwhile 51-year-old Elaine Douglas and Tommy Brooks, 52 pleaded guilty earlier this week to fraudulently claiming tens of thousands of pounds worth of hotel accommodation and financial support.

They will be sentenced on July 13.