A homeless man who was hailed a hero after the Manchester bomb has denied stealing from one of the victims of the attack.
Chris Parker said, “I have done nothing” as he appeared in Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court, charged with two counts of theft relating to a bank card stolen from the Arena.
He was accused of having stolen a purse belonging to Pauline Healey, who was badly injured in the explosion and whose 14-year-old granddaughter Sorrell Leczkowski was killed.
And he was also charged with stealing a mobile phone, which belonged to another teenager.
After entering formal not guilty pleas to both charges, as he left the dock Parker said: “I have done nothing. Absolutely nothing.”
The 33-year-old was at the Arena on May 22 when a suicide bomber detonated his device to cause a huge explosion at the Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people and injuring 250.
After hearing the blast, Chris spoke about following his “gut instinct” and rushing into the Arena to assist victims, and revealed he had cradled a woman and a young girl who had been severely injured.
“As people were coming out of the glass doors I heard a bang and within a split second I saw a white flash, then smoke and then I heard screaming,” 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 to help.
“There was people lying on the floor everywhere.”
Two weeks later, after receiving a lot of media attention, Chris said: “I’m supposed to be a hero but I’m not a hero, just a normal guy, a normal regular guy.
“I ran into that Arena that night because I heard kids screaming. I had no choice.”
Moved by his bravery and the reports of his actions, a member of the public set up a fundraising campaign to help him, which raised an impressive £52,000 in donations.
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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”.
He explained that Chris has yet to receive any of the money, as there hasn’t been anyone in place to administer the fund.
It is believed that he was still sleeping rough before being arrested.
Parker was remanded in custody and will appear at a hearing at Manchester Crown Court on September 13.