'Homeless hero' denies stealing from Manchester Arena attack victims

A man hailed a "homeless hero" at the scene of the Manchester Arena bombing has denied stealing a purse and mobile phone from victims of the attack.

Chris Parker, 33, allegedly swiped the purse of Pauline Healey, as her granddaughter Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, lay dying yards away.

He also took a mobile phone belonging to a teenage girl who cannot be named because of her age, it is alleged.

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, detonated his device in the foyer of the arena on May 22, killing 22 and injuring scores of others.

Rough sleeper Parker received global acclaim afterwards as he described witnessing the effects of the blast and tending to the injured.

He told how he had wrapped an injured girl in a T-shirt and cradled a dying woman in his arms.

On Tuesday he appeared in court for a plea and case management hearing at Manchester Crown Court.

Parker, now living in Halifax, entered not guilty pleas to two counts of theft and two counts of attempted theft.

It is alleged that Parker took Mrs Healey's purse, containing bank cards, from a handbag as she lay stricken on the ground and also stole the other victim's phone.

Mrs Healey attended the Ariana Grande concert with Sorrell and Sorrell's mother, Samantha.

She later underwent 15 hours of surgery to remove shrapnel from her body and also suffered multiple compound fractures to her arms and legs, while Sorrell's mother was also seriously injured.

Sorrell, who was a pupil at Allerton High School in Leeds, was hoping to be an architect and wanted to study at Columbia University in New York.

It is also alleged he tried to steal a bag and a coat belonging to persons unknown.

Judge Hilary Manley bailed Parker until October 16 for a pre-trial hearing ahead of a three-day trial scheduled to begin on January 2.

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