A woman who pretended to be a survivor of the Grenfell Tower fire and claimed the fire had killed her husband to fraudulently obtain £19,000 has been jailed for four and a half years at the Old Bailey.
Joyce Msokeri, 47, told authorities she had escaped the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 but that her husband had died in the fire. In reality, Msokeri was a fraudster, lacking even the most basic morals, and was single, living miles away from Grenfell Tower.
Milking her survivor’s role, she spent the weeks after the fire filling a room at a Hilton hotel with donations from charities and individuals, also dreaming up a ploy to claim insurance on her fictitious partner’s death. She was found guilty in March 2018 of three counts of fraud against the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the Hilton and a number of charities respectively, and a further charge of possessing a false document.
During her trial, Msokeri had employed countless delaying tactics, including regularly feigning illness and falsely claiming to have a disability, and even insisting on using a wheelchair for which she had no medical need.
Far from being anywhere near Grenfell Tower on that fateful night, she was instead on the phone to Sky, complaining about being charged £1.50 over an unpaid bill, a penalty she described as ‘disugsting’. However, once the fire caught her attention she inserted a different sim card in her phone and reported herself missing, pretending to be her own sister.
The 47-year-old showed no emotion as she was sentenced for three counts of fraud and one charge of possessing a false document at the Old Bailey.
Judge Michael Grieve QC said: “These are callous and contemptible, indeed disgusting, offences for which only a custodial sentence can be justified, and one of some length. Your greed in taking advantage of the situation you had created was insatiable.”