Homeless ‘hero’ charged with theft from victim of Manchester bombing

Over £50,000 was raised for Chris Parker after the attack via crowd-funding campaign

Anguish in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena attack in May. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

A homeless man hailed as a hero after helping in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing has been charged with stealing the credit card of one of the victims.

Chris Parker (33) was arrested and charged with stealing the card from Pauline Healey as she lay injured following the attack at the Ariana Grande concert.

A Greater Manchester police statement said Parker, of no fixed abode, had been charged with two counts of theft and remanded to appear at Manchester and Salford magistrates court on Wednesday.

Ms Healey's 14-year-old granddaughter, Sorrell Leczkowski, was killed in the suicide attack by Salman Abedi on May 22nd. Her daughter Samantha, Sorrell's mother, was also seriously injured. Ms Healey was left in a coma for several days and had to have surgery to remove shrapnel from the bomb.


Parker was widely hailed in the media as a hero in the aftermath of the bombing after he described cradling a dying woman, following his “gut instinct” to help rather than running away.

The day after the bombing, Parker gave an interview to the Press Association saying he was in the foyer area of the arena at the time of the blast. 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.”

Sleeping rough

More than £50,000 was raised for Parker in the days after the attack via a crowd-funding campaign. It is understood Parker has continued to sleep rough since the attacks.

Michael Johns, who started the GoFundMe campaign, invited members of the public to donate money in "an effort to help one of our most vulnerable in society who showed great selflessness and courage".

Some 3,799 people together pledged £52,589 for Parker, though he has yet to receive any of the cash, Johns said, speaking before he learned of the charges against Parker.

“There is currently nobody in place to administer the fund as the hold-up was amongst Chris’s support team. The plan was, once they’d managed to get him to agree support I’d get the ball rolling my side,” he said.


A spokesman for GoFundMe said: “We are indeed in full control of the funds and have been working the multi-agency group working with Chris. If for whatever reason he can’t receive the funds, we will refund those donors.

“It’s also worth remembering that GoFundMe users are protected by the GoFundMe guarantee, which means all funds are guaranteed to get to the right place or will be returned.”

Following the bombing, Parker's estranged mother contacted her local newspaper to ask her son to make contact. Jessica Parker said she was "extremely proud" after reading about his bravery in the national news.

“It’s exactly the sort of thing Chris would do, he had such a good heart,” she told the Eastern Daily Press.

“He wouldn’t think twice about helping those poor people. I’m extremely proud of him and I just feel like I need to get in contact. He was knocked down in the blast and he so easily could have died.”

– (Guardian service)