Dealer jailed for £87,000 false claim over Grenfell

Yonatan Eyob. PIC: PA
Yonatan Eyob. PIC: PA

a drug dealer who received almost £87,000 in funds after falsely claiming he lived in Grenfell Tower in the wake of the fire has been jailed for more than six years.

Yonatan Eyob, 26, who was described as homeless but uses an address in Notting Hill, west London, was put up in a hotel and given a food allowance and pre-paid cards.

Drugs, including MDMA and cocaine, and seven mobile phones were found in his hotel room, along with £3,000 in cash, designer clothes, jewellery and credit cards.

Eyob, who claimed he had been lodging with a friend in Flat 182 –home to a family of five who died in the blaze – pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation in June.

At Isleworth Crown Court yesterday, Judge Giles Curtis-Raleigh sentenced Eyob to three years and four months for the fraud, and three years and four months for possession of drugs with intent to supply.

The judge described the fire as “a disaster which shocked the nation”, and said Eyob was treated as a “bereaved survivor and given top priority”.

He said: “You were profiting from the deaths of those people and the fact that they were in effect silenced.”

The Crown Prosecution Service said it is the largest known convicted Grenfell fraud so far.

Eyob received £15,918.20 on pre-paid cards, £60,945 in hotel accommodation and £9,968.36 for laundry and parking – a total of just over £86,831. Eyob was charged with dishonestly making a false representation for accommodation and subsistence between June 2017 and June 2018.

A fire ripped through the west London tower block in June 2017 leaving 72 people dead.

Catherine Gould, from the CPS, said: “Yonatan Eyob took advantage of a terrible tragedy for his own greed. He carried on his fraud for nearly a year.”