Grenfell Tower fraudster pleads guilty after lying about family's death

Anh Nhu Nguyen was given money and charity items after the fire

Grenfell Tower fraudster pleads guilty after lying about family's death

Anh Nhu Nguyen (left - white hair, dark shirt) pictured meeting Prince Charles during a visit to the Westway Sports Centre in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster in west London | Image: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/PA Images

A man who received stg£12,500 (€13,992) after claiming his wife and son had died in the Grenfell Tower fire in London has pleaded guilty to fraud.

Anh Nhu Nguyen was given money, clothing, food, electrical items and a hotel room after pretending to be a survivor of the blaze.

He was given around stg£12,500 (€13,992) in money and possessions from charities and the local council - but actually lived miles away.

The 52-year-old - who has 28 previous convictions - was pictured next to Britain's Prince Charles when he visited a memorial wall near the tower in the weeks after the fire.

Nguyen told media at the time that he had escaped from the 15th floor with his 12-year-old son and wife.

He said the blaze had destroyed "everything" he owned and appeared distressed as he described escaping from the tower, and the deaths of his loved ones.

Nguyen said he had become separated from them and recounted seeing dead bodies in the hallways as he fought his way out of the building with a wet towel for protection.

Grenfell Tower ablaze | File photo

He claimed to have spent two nights in a centre set up for survivors, and that he was trying to get family over from Hong Kong for his wife and son's funeral.

However, two days after Prince Charles' visit, Nguyen was arrested and has now pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation.

He has also admitted one count of making an untrue statement for the purpose of obtaining a passport.

Nguyen, of Beckenham in south-east London, showed no emotion as he entered the pleas at Southwark Crown Court.

His lies were discovered after he gave several different flat numbers - some of which did not exist and one where a real victim had lived.

Vietnam-born Nguyen has been in the UK since the 1980s and has 28 other convictions for offences such as grievous bodily harm, arson and theft.

He also has 17 aliases.

Judge Philip Bartle called Nguyen's actions "despicable".

He said: "This defendant succeeded in achieving money out of the misery and tragedy of people who... genuinely suffered by this terrible fire."

He will be sentenced next month.