A man has been jailed for fraudulently claiming thousands of pounds meant for genuine Grenfell survivors after lying that he was sleeping rough in the tower when it went up in flames.

Alvin Thompson, 51, defrauded the royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea out of more than £95,000 in total by pretending he escaped the fifth floor after being woken by the smell of smoke.

He claimed he had helped people escape from the burning building, stepping over bodies as they got out, but there was no evidence of him being near the tower.

Thompson was convicted of two counts of fraud at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday and today sentenced to five years and six months in prison for the first count and four years for the second count, to be served concurrently.



The court heard how Thompson told the council he had slept on the stairwell inside Grenfell for two years before the tragedy and used the communal doorway power points to charge his phone or make toast.

But prosecutors showed how CCTV footage proved Thompson never entered or left the tower in the months before the fire.

Mobile phone evidence showed that in the months before the fire, Thompson’s phone did not register overnight in the vicinity of Grenfell Tower, and instead frequently showed him as being in Archway, north London.

His banking transactions and passport records also linked him to an address in Archway, prosecutors said.

Thompson tried to back up his story with letters from his doctor and requested to be diagnosed with PTSD.

He told doctors that he had recurring nightmares of seeing a small child at a window in the fire, flash backs to stepping over bodies and survivor’s guilt.

He was subsequently diagnosed with extreme levels of PTSD and anxiety based on the accounts he provided to the medical professionals, which are now known to be false, the court heard.

In the early hours of 14 June 2017, the Grenfell Tower fire broke out, resulting in the deaths of 72 people.

Thompson approached council workers some six weeks later, asking for accommodation, even showing staff a burn on his hand that he claimed he had suffered in the blaze.

He was put up in four different hotels, moving each time at his own request, costing the council almost £60,000 between 28 July 2017 and 5 April 2018.



He was also given a £30-a-day food allowance at each hotel. He later accepted a permanent flat in Westbourne Park in April 2018, receiving a £2,400 package to buy any furniture he needed.

Thompson complained his new flat needed a makeover, and so it was deep-cleaned, re-painted and carpeted, costing the council a further £1,525.

He also requested a security camera, which was fitted for £570, with the total cost of providing Thompson with the flat hitting more than £16,000.

According to the Met Police, the total value of Thompson’s fraud, including hotels, financial handouts and permanent housing costs, amounted to £95,706.42.

Adeniyi Ogunleye, from the CPS, said: ‘Alvin Thompson spun a web of lies and took advantage of a community tragedy to make a gain for himself.

‘When council workers questioned his story, Thompson would become emotional about the trauma he had supposedly suffered or accuse them of being discriminatory towards him.

‘Thompson carried out his fraud for a year, diverting funds away from the true survivors of the fire and betraying the trust of everyone who gave him assistance.

‘When someone is dishonest in this way it is only right that they are held to account by the justice system.’

DC Lisa Cook, investigating, said: ‘Thompson’s behaviour was despicable; he showed complete disregard for the suffering of those who lost their lives, and their families.

‘Now he will have plenty of time in prison to think about what he has done.’