Fraudsters who claimed to live in flat of deceased Grenfell Tower resident convicted
A couple who claimed to be living in the flat of a deceased Grenfell Tower resident at the time of the fire have been convicted of fraud.
Carmel Daly, 50, and Robert Kenneally, 52, defrauded Kensington and Chelsea Council out of £47,802 between 14 June 2017 and 23 August 2018 following the Grenfell Tower disaster.
They were each convicted of one count of fraud following a trial at Isleworth Crown Court, which concluded today (Thursday, 5 March).
A total of 72 people died as a result of the fire in the early hours of Wednesday, 14 June 2017.
The pair initially presented themselves as a homeless couple at the Westway centre, which was being used as a space for survivors.
Helpers there made a note of them, writing that although they had not been directly affected by the fire, they were making use of the facilities and this was acceptable given the circumstances.
However, some days later Daly spoke to a journalist telling him that she had been a resident and escaped from the burning building on the night.
Kenneally too presented himself as a survivor from the 14th floor to helpers from the Red Cross.
Five days after the fire, the couple had managed to get accommodation at Copthorne Tara Hotel in Kensington as a result of claiming to be Grenfell Tower survivors.
They had told council workers that they had been living with Dennis Murphy who had died in the fire.
They claimed to have met the deceased resident in a pub before coming to a deal of £50 a week to sleep in his living room.
A neighbour of Mr Murphy told a volunteer that she had never seen the defendants before they were all transferred to the same hotel.
She added that neither of them had attended Mr Murphy’s funeral.
By September 2017 the couple managed to secure a rent-free permanent flat from Kensington and Chelsea Council, which they moved into the following month.
Judith Reed, from the CPS, said: “Carmel Daly and Robert Kenneally concocted a fictional story and defrauded the council out of thousands of pounds that should have gone to the true survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.
“Daly gave several inconsistent accounts of the night of the fire - in one version she claimed to have escaped as burning debris fell over her; later saying she had disguised minor burns by spending a lot of money on ‘expensive make-up’.
“An analysis of CCTV footage showed that not once had the pair been seen entering or leaving the Tower.
“A relative of the couple also provided a statement saying that although he knew Daly and Kenneally had lived in the area since moving from Ireland in 2014, he was not aware of them ever living inside Grenfell Tower.
"He added that they had not reached out to him for assistance as one would expect following the disaster.
“The actions of Carmel Daly and Robert Kenneally were truly despicable in the face of a community tragedy. They will now have to face the consequences of their lies.”
They were expected to be sentenced later in the day.
Notes to editors
- Carmel Daly (DOB: 16.07.1969) is of no fixed abode
- Robert Kenneally (DOB: 23.10.1967) is of no fixed abode
- Judith Reed is a Senior District Crown Prosecutor in the Complex Casework unit in CPS London South.