Manchester Attack 'Hero' Pleads Guilty To Theft - Opposing Views

Manchester Attack 'Hero' Pleads Guilty To Theft

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A man who was praised around the world for his actions following the Manchester terrorist attack in May 2017 has pleaded guilty to charges of theft and fraud.

Chris Parker, a homeless man, was at the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017, in the aftermath of the detonation of a homemade bomb by ISIS supporter Salman Abedi, according to The Independent. The blast killed 22 people.

Parker admitted to stealing a phone and bank cards from victims of the attack, including from a grandmother whose granddaughter was killed.

"By his pleas he's admitted stealing items belonging to victims of the attack on the arena and using a bank card thereafter," said Louise Brandon, a lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service. "I do not seek a trial on the remaining counts."

The additional charges, which Parker denied, included an accusation that he stole a coat. He will be sentenced at a hearing scheduled for Jan 30.

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Surveillance footage showed Parker in the foyer of the arena, where an Ariana Grande concert was finishing when the attack occurred. Parker could be seen reaching over injured victim Pauline Healey to take her phone and bank cards.

"He's tendered these pleas and all he can do in the circumstances is first of all plead guilty, and [apologize] for his appalling [behavior] that evening," defense attorney John Broadley stated.

In the wake of the attack, media reports hailed Parker as a "hero" after he described assisting some victims.

"It knocked me to the floor and then I got up and instead of running away, my gut instinct was to run back and try and help," Parker said at the time.

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He stated that he used a merchandise t-shirt to bind the wounds of a girl who had lost her legs.

He also said he tried to help another injured woman.

"She passed away in my arms," he stated at the time. "I haven't stopped crying."

The reports and Parker's accounts of his actions resulted in the establishment of a GoFundMe page, which raised around $70,500 for Parker.

Michael Johns, who created the crowdfunding campaign, said all donors would get their money back.

"I would like to extend my sympathies to his victims that night and also [apologize] to them for any distress this campaign may have caused them whilst they continue to recover and grieve," added Johns.

A report on Abedi's attack concluded that there was "no way of knowing" he was planning to detonate a bomb at the concert venue, according to the Manchester Evening News. However, it pointed to a series of missed opportunities by the intelligence service MI5 to stop the terrorist.

Sources: The Independent, Manchester Evening News / Featured Image: Transport Pixels/Flickr / Embedded Images: Transport Pixels/Flickr, Rob Sinclair/Flickr

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