A homeless man who was hailed a hero of the Manchester terror attack was seen stealing a purse from an injured woman just yards from her dying granddaughter in shocking footage played in court today.
Chris Parker, 33, admitted taking Pauline Healey’s purse as 14-year-old Sorrell Leczkowski was dying just minutes after the atrocity which killed 22 innocent people. He also pleaded guilty to stealing a teenage girl’s iPhone.
A graphic video was today played to Manchester Crown Court which showed Parker kneeling over bodies and rifling their bags just moments after the attack on May 22.
Just minutes earlier at least 400 people were injured following an Ariana Grande concert at the arena.
Parker, who had been sleeping rough near the arena that night, stole a mobile phone and a purse and then used a bank card from the wallet to buy food in McDonalds.
He had initially been hailed a ‘hero’ after he described wrapping an injured girl in a T-shirt and cradled a dying woman in his arms.
But he was arrested after CCTV footage showed him stealing the purse of Mrs Healey as her granddaughter lay dying yards away and also taking the mobile phone.
Well-wishers even raised £50,000 for him after a JustGiving page was set up.
The horrifying footage was played as Parker, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to stealing a purse, a second charge of theft of an iPhone 6 from a girl – who cannot be named – and fraud by using one of Mrs Healey’s cards.
He denied further charges of attempting to steal the content of a handbag, attempted theft of a coat, using Mrs Healey’s bank card in a Tesco store and of using it on the Greater Manchester public transport system.
After the pleas, it emerged he had been on the run for a month when he was bailed to a hostel on condition he wore an electronic tag.
It is believed he cut the tag off and dumped it in a soup can before failing to appear in court on December 6. A warrant was issued for his arrest three days before Christmas.
Parker was detained on Tuesday evening when police found him hiding in a loft hours after he failed to show up for his trial having earlier told his ex-girlfriend he planned to give himself up.
He showed no emotion and bowed his head in the dock as prosecutor Louise Brandon said: ‘He has admitted stealing items from the victims of the terror attack at Manchester Arena.
‘Under these circumstances the prosecution accept his pleas and will not be looking for a trial on the remaining counts.’
John Broadley, defending, said: ‘The only thing he can’t do is plead guilty and sincerely apologise for his appalling behaviour on that evening.
‘The defendant does not shirk from the fact this will be a custodial sentence.’
Parker will be sentenced on January 30 and was remanded in custody.
Trial judge David Hernandez said: ‘A custodial sentence is likely in this case.
‘Christopher Parker you have pleaded guilty to the counts on the indictment and the prosecution accept these.’
Earlier the footage showed Parker looking over his shoulder as people run in the foyer after the explosion.
He went on his own mobile phone before going into the arena walking passed bodies and kneeling over them.
He was seen to kick a bag and look inside it then walk around around talking to police at the scene.
Seconds later he was back on his phone again before squatting on the floor appearing to looking for items.
Parker was seen to pick up a phone but was not seen putting it down again.
He was also seen speaking outside the venue to a child believed to be 12-year old Millie Kiss whose mother Michelle died ion the explosion and who was seen being comforted by a policewoman outside the venue.
He is seen to spend several moments with the girl before going back on his phone and returning inside the Arena where he was spotted taking photographs of the horrific scene.
Parker was seen to bends down over Mrs Healey and touch her before picking up her bag and looking in it.
He was also spotted trying to apparently take pictures of her. Photos found on his phone showed bodies strewn around the floor in the foyer, a shirtless man being tended to as he lay seriously injured and a third picture of Mrs Healey with her hand over her face eyes closed in pain.
A fourth image showed a pound coin next to a nail shrapnel.
The grandmother 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.
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.
Parker initially denied two counts of theft and two counts of attempted theft.
His trial was due to start today and was scheduled to last three days until his changed his plea at the last minute.