Manager near Grenfell Tower that kept £2,056 meant for survivors

Manager of restaurant near Grenfell Tower that held fundraising dinner eight days after the tragedy kept £2,056 meant for survivors because ‘he needed it a lot more’

  • George Nelson held a fundraising evening for child survivors of the Grenfell fire
  • However a year later when donations were not handed over he faced questions
  • After a Daily Mail investigation, £2,056 has finally been handed over to a charity
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When a restaurant near Grenfell Tower held a fundraising evening for child survivors of the horrific fire, locals gave generously.

Sympathetic diners put in hundreds of pounds for youngsters who had lost loved ones.

But when a year went by and there was still no sign of the donations being handed over to any Grenfell charity, the manager of Rum Kitchen in Notting Hill found himself facing questions.

And when he was challenged over the money, George Nelson said he still had it, adding: ‘I took it because I needed it a lot more than the people of Grenfell. 

George Nelson, manager of Rum Kitchen in Notting Hill, found himself facing questions when the money he had raised for Grenfell’s child survivors was not handed over

At the time they didn’t matter that much to me.’

Now, after a Daily Mail investigation, £2,056 from the whip-round has finally been handed over to a charity helping children deal with bereavement – and Mr Nelson has been dismissed from his job. 

Yesterday Rum Kitchen, which runs a chain of Caribbean restaurants, thanked the Daily Mail.

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A spokesman said: ‘Following the terrible events at Grenfell Tower, colleagues at our Notting Hill branch – many of whom knew Grenfell residents – wanted to help in any way they could, including providing food and drink to the emergency services and putting on a fundraising event that raised more than £2,000.

‘The Rum Kitchen is satisfied the money raised was donated to a charity supporting those affected, but was concerned to learn the employee entrusted with making the donation did not do so within an acceptable timeframe. 

‘We are grateful that this was brought to our attention. The employee no longer works for the company.’

The restaurant held the fundraising event eight days after the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London in June 2017

Rum Kitchen’s Notting Hill restaurant held the fundraising event eight days after the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London in June 2017, which killed 72. Diners were asked to donate at least £10.

A Rum Kitchen insider said: ‘Some guests were being very generous, giving donations of £20 and £30 during the evening. But what happened to the money?’

Some 17 months after the fire, the insider challenged Mr Nelson, who is in his twenties. In a recording of their conversation Mr Nelson says: ‘OK, I’ll give the money to charity. I took it because I needed it a lot more than the people of Grenfell. 

At the time they didn’t matter that much to me. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever done, for sure. I’ve got the money now.’

The Mail met Mr Nelson at Rum Kitchen’s Carnaby Street restaurant, where he was then working as general manager.

He denied keeping the money or saying he had needed it more than Grenfell survivors. 

He said the cash had been handed to a charity and claimed this happened in December 2017. 

He offered to produce a receipt to prove it, but after ten days the receipt he showed the Mail had the date torn off the top right-hand corner.

The well-established Child Bereavement UK charity confirmed it had accepted the donation as part of the Support 4 Grenfell Community Hub organisation formed after the fire.

14 charged, 11 jailed: The full extent of Grenfell Tower fraud claims

Hospital worker Koffi Kouakou has become the 11th person jailed after Grenfell.

He swindled £24,572 worth of handouts when he was put up in a hotel for three months.

He told the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea that he had been living in flat 115 with Zainab Deen, which officers soon discovered was a lie.

Bangladeshi Mohammed Syed Rinku claimed he was in a gay relationship with a resident of the 20th floor of the west London block and his boyfriend had died in the blaze.

But when he was asked about his affair by the police, it became clear he had researched who had died in the fire. Officers then found heterosexual porn and dating apps on his phone.

The 46-year-old was jailed for 18 months for the fraud. 

Anh Nhu Nguyen pretended his wife and 12-year-old son were killed in the blaze so he could claim charity handouts.

He pocketed £11,270 as he was put up in hotels and given clothing, laptops and cash.

But police discovered the 53-year-old had 28 convictions for 56 offences spanning more than 30 years, including theft, dishonesty offences, arson and grievous bodily harm.

Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam, even tried to apply for a passport by claiming his had been incinerated. He was jailed for 21 months in February.

Another fraudster, Anh Nhu Nguyen, met Prince Charles during his time posing as a victim

Elaine Douglas and Tommy Brooks falsely claimed they lived in Grenfell Tower to claim more than £120,000.

The illegal immigrants spent eight months living in a four-star hotel, with taxpayers footing the £400-a-night bill.

They also spent more than £20,000 on meals and clothing on pre-paid credit cards which were given to them by Kensington and Chelsea council.

The pair entered Britain illegally from Jamaica 16 years ago on separate flights and were ordered to leave by immigration officials only to vanish – reappearing in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy last year. 

Douglas, 51, was jailed for a total of three years while Brooks, 52, received a sentence of three years and three months. 

Joyce Msokeri falsely claimed to have lost her husband in the blaze so that she could claim thousands of pounds.

The conwoman travelled 14 miles from her own flat to the tower block and convinced charity workers she had survived the inferno.

She feigned trauma to obtain handouts of £19,000 in cash, food, clothing, three mobile phones and free stays at a Hilton hotel. The 47-year-old would have received £203,000 in handouts if she had not been caught.

When Msokeri, from Zimbabwe, kept giving them different numbers for her flat in the tower block, her apparent forgetfulness was put down to trauma. She was jailed for four-and-a-half years in April. 

Mohammad Gamoota is pictured

Mohammad Gamoota trawled a list of the dead then told officials his father was Abdeslam Sebbar, who had died after becoming trapped in his flat.

The 31-year-old said he had survived only because he was attending midnight prayers at his mosque when the inferno took hold.

In reality, he was not related to Mr Sebbar, 77, and did not live in Grenfell Tower, but took the details from a newspaper.

Two days later, Gamoota presented himself as a bereaved relative. He was given £500 and booked into a Holiday Inn hotel where he racked up a £374 room service bill.

He tried to claim a further £5,000 – but a technical issue with his bank account prevented the money being paid in. He was jailed for 18 months.

Yonatan Eyob falsely claimed £81,000 in cash and free hotel stays, as well as £11,000 towards a new permanent home.

Eyob claimed he had lived alone in a flat that actually contained a family of five who perished in Britain’s worst fire for a generation.

Neighbours said he didn’t and CCTV proved he had never been there.

He was later charged with dishonestly making a false representation for accommodation and subsistence between June 2017 and June 2018.

The 26-year-old pleaded guilty and was jailed for more than six years.

Council worker Jenny McDonagh blew money for victims on holidays and meals out

Jenny McDonagh stole pre-paid cash cards while working as manager of the Grenfell Fire fund at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

In total she took about £62,000 from pre-paid cash cards meant for several survivors, including Fadumo Ahmed, Sacha Salaabi and Christos Fairbairn, the court heard.

The money was spent on online gambling and foreign holidays.

She was jailed for five-and-a-half years. 

Antonio Gouveia, 33, lied about escaping the inferno.

The fraudster claimed to be the flatmate of 80-year-old Hermine Harris who was living in the block of flats on the night of the tragedy which left 72 people dead in June 2017. 

He has been jailed for three years. 

Abdelkarim Rekaya, 28, took advantage of the government’s policy of providing amnesty for illegal immigrants living in the gutted tower block in June last year.

He had been in the country since 2009 and by 2010 he had been cautioned by police for trying to steal bicycle.

Rekaya first claimed he was living in flat four when the inferno claimed the lives of 72 residents.

He later changed his story to say he was homeless and sleeping in the stairwell of the 11th and 12th floor.

Shortly after the blaze he was put up in a luxury Chelsea hotel at a cost of £60,000 for just under a year.

Judge Robin Jonathan warned him he faced a ‘substantial custodial sentence.’  


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