'Homeless hero' who stole phones from Manchester bombing victims, cancelled calls and replied 'sorry can't talk now' to loved ones desperately trying to get hold of their injured families is jailed for four years

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A homeless man who stole phones from victims of the Manchester Arena attack and replied 'sorry I can't talk now' as loved ones tried to desperately get hold of them was today jailed for more than four years. 
Chris Parker, 33, shamelessly ransacked victim's bags following the devastating bombing in May last year which killed 22 people and injured 400 others following an Ariana Grande concert.

He admitted stealing a purse belonging to Pauline Healey, 64, whose 14-year-old granddaughter Sorrell Leczkowski was killed in the terror attack.
Parker also stone an iPhone from another 14-year-old victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and rejected calls from her worried family members.
Parker, sporting a black goatee beard, wore a grey jumper in the dock and was today jailed for four years and three months by Judge David Hernandez.

The judge told him: 'You represented yourself as a hero. Sadly you were not the hero you pretended to be. You were just a common thief.'
Parker was also banned from entering Manchester city centre for the next 10 years.  
A heartbreaking victim impact statement was read out in court today which was written by the mother of a girl whose phone was stolen by Parker.  
She spoke of the frustration caused as people tried to ring her daughters phone to find out how she was.

Parker declined calls made to the phone and sent a message back saying: 'Sorry I can't speak right now.'

The court was shown CCTV footage showing the immediate aftermath of the bomb, in which Parker can be seen looking through bags and taking items from them.
Parker, who initially claimed to have rushed into the venue to help in the aftermath of the blast, also took photos of the wounded as he committed his crimes.
Louise Brandon, prosecuting, said it appeared that Parker took two photographs in the arena as those injured received medical treatment close by.

CCTV footage showed Parker looking through Mrs Healey's bag before the emergency services arrived to tend to her serious injuries and Parker was moved on.
Parker - who been sleeping rough near the Arena on the night of the bombing - had originally been hailed a 'hero' after he described wrapping an injured girl in a T-shirt and cradled a dying woman in his arms.
The court heard that Parker (pictured) stole mobile phones from victims and replied to their loved ones: 'Sorry I can't talk now' 
Following the attack a GoFundMe web page was opened by wellwishers who wanted to raise money for him in the mistaken belief he had acted that night 'selflessly and heroically'.
In total, £52,589 was donated to the page for Parker but when the truth emerged all the money was returned back to those who had donated.
In her statement Mrs Healey told how she saw Parker and at first felt 'an initial sense of relief' mistakenly assuming he was 'there to help those who were serious injured and desperate for help.' 

But she said Parker asked her where her mobile phone was, then got her bag and rummaged through it.
As he grabbed her phone, Mrs Healey's husband Michael rung her and Parker passed the phone to her. 
He then walked away with Mrs Healey's bag and then returned it to her with her purse missing. 

He also took pictures of her lying next to Sorell as the youngster lay dying before selling on the images for £100.
Judge David Hernandez told Parker: 'You represented yourself as a man who showed great courage and selflessness going to the aid of those who had been injured.

'You spoke of comforting the dying and the injured. You actions captured the hearts of many.
'However those moments of compassion were brief. The value of the items stolen do not reflect the seriousness of this offence - it is the context they weree committed in, they are extraordinary and warrant a substantial prison sentence.
'There is significant harm to the victims and there is the emotional distress that has been cause to them. 
'Your behaviour was distressing to the individual victims and their families and has been viewed with repugnance as a whole. 

'I accept you had a difficult life but so had many who are in this city. I accept you helped some of the injured but you stole from people who were seriously injured at a time when others were either dead or dying. 
'It is hard to contemplate a more reprehensible set of circumstances.
'The true spirit of Manchester was shown by the actions of the ordinary citizens of Manchester as well as the emergency services who went to assist those injured that night. 
'You represented yourself as a hero - sadly you were not the hero that you pretended to be. You were just a common thief.'

The court was also told that Parker spent around 45 minute in the arena and the court was also shown the photographs he took. 
The first was a view of the City Rooms entrance to the arena, showing the injured and those tending to them, while the second was a photo of someone seriously injured.
The third is a close up of Mrs Healey's face as she lay injured. She today said Parker 'exploited' rather than helped victims of the suicide bomb attack - simply so he could make money for himself.
Ms Brandon said Parker offered no assistance to Mrs Healey, from Leeds, or her family and admitted stealing her purse during that incident.
Parker still had the purse as late as June last year, showing it to staff at The Booth Centre, a venue in Manchester which helps the homeless.


After Parker was hailed a hero, his mother Jessica Parker (pictured) said she wanted to be reunited with her son, Chris (pictured on the right)
Parker said he had got it from a woman who he had helped at the arena, who he thought had died but he later found out had survived.
Ms Brandon said Parker also stole an iPhone from a victim who cannot be named for legal reasons and deliberately sought to obstruct any attempts to locate that phone.
At 6am on May 23 Parker visited a police cordon and handed over the phone to a police officer, but he kept the purse.

As well as admitting two counts of theft, Parker admitted one count of fraud after using Mrs Healey's bank card at a McDonald's in Manchester three times between May 23 and May 26. 
In a victim impact statement, Mrs Healey said: 'His sole intention that evening was to take advantage of the seriously injured and dying victims of the bombing in order to make money for himself. 
'The actions of this man are truly deplorable and have detracted my focus from my own health and from supporting my family in the way that I need to.
'Chris Parker has added further pain, difficulties and upset for us to cope with - things we really didn't need to be dealing with at this difficult time. 

'I am at a loss to understand how another person could look to exploit such an attack for his own self-gain whilst surrounded by a scene of tragedy and suffering.'
Mrs Healey spoke of a sense of 'relief' after Parker came over to her and her family, believing he was there to help.
She remembered Parker taking the bag off her back and taking out her mobile phone.
Mrs Healey's husband rang, Parker answered it and he passed the phone on to Mrs Healey.
He left with her bag, and later returned with it but the purse was not there.
Parker, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, also admitted a Bail Act offence after he failed to attend court on December 22 last year.
Prosecutor Ms Brandon said a warrant was issued for his arrest after Parker did not turn up for the first day of his trial.
West Yorkshire Police found him hiding in a loft in Halifax on the early hours of January 3 and brought to court that morning.
Recounting the events of May 22 told the court Parker was homeless at the time and living on the streets regularly.
He was at the arena that night and was initially offering some assistance but then committed the crimes he has pleaded guilty to.
Ms Brandon said that contrary to the impression he subsequently gave to the media, 'he [Parker] was no hero'.
Ms Brandon said that although it was clear Parker offered some assistance, helping members of the public who were with someone using a wheelchair, but that this was 'short lived'.
The court was told that Parker has 10 previous conviction, including the theft of a mobile phone from his mother, and the theft of a computer games console belonging to the children of his former partner. 
Defending, John Broadley said Parker had five previous convictions for dishonesty.
Mr Broadley said: 'Nothing that I will say in mitigation can possibly excuse Mr Parker's behaviour that night.'

Mr Broadley added that Parker has never received a custodial sentence before and would be on the vulnerable persons wing at prison.

Parker - who is currently in 'isolation' at prison - has received threats, the court heard.
After he entered his guilty pleas last month, a fundraising page set up for Parker in the aftermath of the bombing was shut down.
More than £52,000 was raised for Parker after he was praised for 'helping' those affected.

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