Beckenham fraud admits posing as victim of Grenfell Tower fire after meeting Prince Charles at relief centre
PUBLISHED: 15:25 02 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:25 02 November 2017
Anh Nhu Nguyen claimed he had fled the tower with his wife and 12-year-old son
A serial conman has admitted pretending his family died in the Grenfell Tower fire to obtain around £12,500 meant for the victims.
Beckenham fraudster Anh Nhu Nguyen, who posed as a victim of the fire, shook the Prince of Wales’ hand when he visited a relief centre set up in the wake of the disaster.
The 52-year-old was part of a crowd who flocked around Charles when he arrived at a memorial wall close to the tower for an unannounced visit, in the weeks after the fire.
Members of the public immediately clamoured around the Prince as he gazed at the hundreds of bouquets, candles and cards laid in tribute for those who died, filming him on their phones and asking for selfies.
It is not clear whether Nguyen spoke with Charles directly, but he is pictured at his side and shaking his hand when the Prince first arrived in north Kensington.
Nguyen later told reporters he had fled from the 15th floor of the burning high-rise with his wife and 12-year-old son, claiming both of them had died in the blaze.
Two days later, it emerged that Nguyen had been arrested on suspicion of fraud.
He claimed the fire had destroyed “everything” he owned, and that he was so upset about having lost his wife and son that he could not eat or concentrate.
Recounting his supposed escape, he said that the smoke became so thick he had to hold a wet towel out in front of him with both hands when he reached the eighth floor, and he became separated from his family.
On Thursday, Ngyuyen, of Beckenham Road, pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to two counts of fraud by false representation and one count of making an untrue statement for the purpose of obtaining a passport.
The former Vietnamese national, who moved to the UK in the 1980s, has 28 previous convictions for 56 offences including theft, dishonest offences, arson and grievous bodily harm.
At an earlier hearing, Judge Philip Bartle said: “This defendant has engaged in what the court can only describe as, a despicable offence - namely claiming that he and his family lived in Grenfell Tower and that his wife and son died in it. As a result of which he received goods or money to the value of £12,500.
He will be sentenced on December 15.