‘Homeless hero’ from Norwich Chris Parker denies stealing from victims of Manchester bomb attack
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A man hailed as a 'homeless hero' after the Manchester Arena bombing has appeared in court accused of stealing from two of the victims of the attack.
Chris Parker, 33, originally from Norwich, is alleged to have stolen a purse and its contents belonging to the grandmother of 14-year-old Sorrell Leczkowski, from Leeds, who was killed in the attack.
He is also said to have taken the mobile phone of another teenage girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Parker entered formal not guilty pleas to the two charges and was remanded in custody ahead of a hearing at Manchester Crown Court on September 13.
As Parker was led from the dock after the short hearing, he said: 'I have done nothing. Absolutely nothing.'
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One of his alleged victims, Pauline Healey, had attended the Ariana Grande concert on May 22 with Sorrell and Sorrell's mother, Samantha.
Mrs Healey later underwent 15 hours of surgery to remove shrapnel from her body and also suffered multiple compound fractures to her arms and legs, while Sorrell's mother was also seriously injured.
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Sorrell, who was a pupil at Allerton High School in Leeds, was hoping to be an architect and wanted to study at Columbia University in New York.
On the day of her funeral, her family said: 'Sorrell was only 14, but she was our rock, she kept us all grounded.
'She was such a clever, talented, creative girl, there was nothing she couldn't do.'
The Crown alleges that Parker, who gave his address as Woodlands Road, Crumpsall, Manchester, took the purse, containing bank cards, from Mrs Healey's handbag as she lay stricken on the ground.
Ben Southam, prosecuting, said it was clear that the defendant provided 'some limited assistance' to people injured at the entrance to the venue's foyer but it was the Crown's case that he 'equally' took the opportunity to commit the thefts.
District Judge John Temperley said the case was too serious to be dealt with within his jurisdiction and must be heard in a Crown Court.
Following the attack, rough sleeper Parker had described witnessing the effects of the blast and tending to the injured.
Speaking at the time, he said: '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.
'There was people lying on the floor everywhere.'
He told how he had wrapped an injured girl in a T-shirt and cradled a dying woman in his arms in the aftermath of suicide bomber Salman Abedi killing himself and 22 others.