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Grenfell Tower fire 'widow' Joyce Msokeri jailed for fraud

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image copyrightMet Police
image captionJoyce Msokeri was convicted of three counts of fraud and a charge of possessing a false document

A woman who said she lost her home and husband in the Grenfell Tower fire has been jailed for four and a half years.

Joyce Msokeri, 47, filled a room at Kensington's Hilton hotel with donations after saying she was a grief-stricken victim of the disaster, which killed 71 people.

Southwark Crown Court heard data showed her phone had never been used near the Grenfell site.

Last month, Msokeri was found guilty of fraud and possessing a false document.

Sentencing her, Judge Michael Grieve QC said her offences were "callous and contemptible, indeed disgusting".

"Your greed in taking advantage of the situation you had created was insatiable," he added.

image copyrightCPS
image captionJoyce Msokeri filled a room at Kensington's Hilton hotel with donations

Msokeri, of Ambleside Gardens in Sutton, south London, claimed goods including handbags and dresses, accommodation and cash handouts worth a total of £19,000.

But prosecutor David Jeremy QC said she would have had access to funds totalling more than £200,000 if other benefits she applied for or could have applied for but did not receive due to her arrest are counted.

The court heard Msokeri concocted an elaborate ploy to claim insurance on her fictitious partner's death.

When her story began to unravel, she told investigators she had found out her husband had survived and had been living in a cave in Margate, Kent, where he was fed by tourists.

Msokeri eventually persuaded a man with a history of mental health problems to pose as her spouse so she could claim he had miraculously been found weeks after the fire.

image copyrightCPS
image captionMsokeri was captured on CCTV while checking her fake husband into a mental health ward

Kate Mulholland, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said Msokeri's offences "involved the exploitation of extremely vulnerable people, as well as the breach of trust of survivors, donors and relief workers".

Msokeri was found guilty of three counts of fraud against the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC), the Hilton and charities plus a further charge of possessing a false document.

A RBKC spokesman said: "We approach every case with the view of doing our very best to support individuals and families wherever and however we can.

"Unfortunately, as in this case, there is a small minority who came forward and tried to take advantage of this, with the sole purpose of gaining something out of a tragedy."

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