- BBC News
A homeless man, widely described as a “hero” for helping victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack in May, allegedly stole a bank card from a woman he was assisting.
Chris Parker, a 33-year-old rough sleeper who lives in the city, was praised for running towards the chaos after Salman Abedi blew himself up inside the venue immediately after an Ariana Grande concert.
He appeared on news channels and was described by the BBC and most of the press as a “hero” for putting himself in harm’s way to help. Well-wishers contributed more than £50,000 to a GoFundMe meant to help him off the streets.
But almost three months after the attack, Greater Manchester Police have announced that Parker had been charged with the theft of a bank card on the night of the attack.
According to the Guardian, Parker is accused of taking the card from Pauline Healey, who was injured by shrapnel from Abedi’s bomb and spent several days in a coma. Her 14-year-old granddaughter Sorrell Leczkowski was killed.
- REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Until the theft charge, Parker’s story appeared to be a rare piece of positive news to come out of the attack, and an example of the “Manchester spirit” demonstrated by the community in response to terror.
The publicity led to Parker being reunited with his estranged mother, who lives in Norfolk. She had not seen him for five years.
Recalling their reunion in an interview with the BBC, she said she told him: “Chris, I think you did something really wonderful and you need to remember that.”
At the same time as the theft charges were made public, the Manchester Arena announced that it will re-open on September 9, 110 days after the bombing, with a concert headlined by Noel Gallagher.