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Grenfell Tower fire frauds admit posing as victims and claiming more than 125,000 in relief

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A man and a woman have admitted claiming more than 125,000 in relief funding by posing as victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Elaine Douglas and Tommy Brooks were put up in hotels by Kensington and Chelsea council for almost a year before staff realised the flat they claimed to be livingin at the time of the disaster did not exist.

The pair, both Jamaican nationals aged 51, also tried to take advantage of a scheme granting all tower residents leave to remain in the UK for at least five years.

Douglas was housed in the Radisson Blu in Kensington for 276 nights, at a cost of just over 55,000 to the local authority. She also ran up a room service bill of 267.35.

Later, after complaining about the quality of the food at the four-star hotel,sheamassed 11,000 in charges on a pre-paid credit card given to her by the council.

She was also handed a pre-paid Oyster card so she could travel free of charge.

Brooks also started off at the Radisson Blu before being moved to another hotel, spending 243 nights in hotel accommodation overall at a cost to the council of more than 49,000.

He then racked up a room service bill of 276 and charges of 9,000 on a pre-paid credit card, while he too was given free Oyster travel.

In total, he benefited fromalmost 58,400 in relief intended to help the victims of the fire, while Douglas claimed more than 67,000.

The two defendants pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation and one count of obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday.

The defendants both claimed to have been together in the fire, prosecutor Benjamin Holt told the court.

Both said they were residing in flat 91 on the 19th floor – flat 91 is actually on the 12th floor.

Mr Holt also told the court the pair had managed to avoid immigration authorities for 16 years after entering the UK illegally in the early 2000s.

Douglas and Brooks were remanded in custody until sentencing scheduled for 13 June.

Seventy-twopeople died in the tragic blaze at the 24-story block in North Kensington in June last year, including an unborn baby.

The Grenfell Tower inquiry established to determine what caused the fire and how to prevent similar disasters completed the commemorative portionof its hearings on Wednesday.

Proceedings had to be halted after a woman, believed to be a relative of the Choucair family, collapsed as Nabil Choucair paid tribute to six members of his family who died in the fire.

Additional reporting by PA

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-fire-fraud-victims-claim-money-immigrants-a8376591.html

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