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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 10 December, 2019
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Man falsely claimed his wife and son died in Grenfell fire to get money and housing

The 52-year-old was arrested in London.

The aftermath of the fire
The aftermath of the fire
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

A 52-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested by police in London on suspicion of fraudulently attempting to gain money and housing by pretending he had lost family members in the Grenfell Tower fire.

The man came forward in the immediate aftermath and was assigned family liaison officers after he claimed that he lost his wife and son in the fire.

He attempted to claim financial support, stating he had lost all his property.

A police investigation started after it became apparent there were inconsistencies in the man’s story. Police spoke to residents within Grenfell Tower who confirmed that the man did not live at the address.

Relatives of the resident of the flat the man claimed to live in have been spoken to by their family liaison officers and made aware of this investigation.

Officers have also traced the address in Bromley where the man was living at the time of the fire, which has been independently confirmed. It has also been established that the man does not have a wife or child.

Police said the investigation is connected to fraud and not linked to sub-letting or immigration matters. Detectives believe the man was working alone.

The death toll in the fire at the apartment block earlier this month has yet to be confirmed, but at least 80 people died.

‘Distress and suffering’ 

Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack of the Metropolitan Police said: ”The distress and suffering caused to so many families and loved ones that night is harrowing.

That night people lost their homes, all their possessions and tragically their families and loved ones. The focus of all of us should be on supporting victims and families, recovering loved ones from Grenfell Tower and investigating the fire.

“I have made it clear that we are not interested in investigating things such as sub-letting or immigration matters as I want their help – and do not want there to be any hidden victims of this tragedy.

“However, we will robustly investigate any information about anyone who seeks to capitalise on the suffering of so many.”

The man was arrested yesterday evening and is in custody at a west London police station.

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Órla Ryan

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