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Grenfell Tower fire: Man jailed for £40,000 fraud

Derrick Peters Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Derrick Peters was put up in the Park Grand hotel in Paddington after claiming to have lost his friend and all his possessions in the blaze

A man who falsely claimed to be a Grenfell Tower resident to dodge a jail sentence will spend six years behind bars for his "repulsive" crimes.

Derrick Peters, 58, stayed at the Park Grand hotel in Paddington after claiming he lost his friend and his possessions in the blaze on 14 June last year.

Isleworth Crown Court heard he ran up a £40,000 bill at the £192-a-night room.

He also spent up to £5,000 on food, drink and laundry at the hotel.

Peters, of no fixed abode, was arrested in August last year after burgling a nearby flat, stealing jewellery and other items worth around £3,000.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea continued to pay for his hotel room for two months while he was held on remand in Wandsworth prison.

He was handed a community order after repeating his Grenfell lies during his sentencing on 16 October.

The judge, who had no reason to doubt his story, said: "How on earth can one even begin to understand what it is like to lose a friend in a tragedy like Grenfell?"

Peters continued the pretence and was even offered a flat meant for genuine victims of the disaster that left 72 people dead.

Image copyright Getty Images

However, his story unravelled after Rebecca Ross, a Grenfell survivor whose father Steve Power perished in the fire, confirmed Peters had not lived with them and their three dogs, as he had claimed.

Peters pleaded guilty to perverting the court of justice and two counts of fraud and was sentenced to six years in jail on Friday.

He was also re-sentenced for the original burglary charge.

'Cheated and lied'

Judge Robin Johnson told Peters he was sure he had been previously spared jail because of his "brazen lie" to the judge.

"It was designed to pull heart strings. It succeeded, just as the similar lies were providing you with hotel accommodation and money," he said.

"Your conduct from June last year was utterly disgraceful. You cheated and lied for your own ends, trading on others' misery. There can be little mercy in such a case."

The judge said Peters' crimes had reached "such depths as any right-minded member of the public would find repulsive".

The court heard Peters has been convicted of 90 offences, including 24 for fraud and 49 for theft.

He is the sixth person to be sentenced for fraud relating to the Grenfell fire and received the longest prison term yet.

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