Chris Parker – Manchester bombing ‘hero’ jailed for more than 4 years

Chris Parker – Manchester bombing ‘hero’ jailed for more than 4 years


We looked at the case of Chris Parker, the ‘hero’ of the Manchester bombings, who pleaded guilty in early January 2018 to stealing a purse and a phone from the victims of the attack and later using one of the cards that he had stolen.

Looking at the theft and fraud guidelines, we had said a sentence of up to 2 years after a trial could be coming. It was clear that the sentence would be much higher than the guidelines would suggest because of the circumstances of the theft.

We didn’t think it would be quite as high as it was however – Mr Parker was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months.

The latest reports do add a little more detail; there two separate thefts from different people – an iPhone from a teenager and a purse from Pauline Healey who’s granddaughter died in the attack. He used a care from Ms Healey’s purse in a local McDonalds.

We do not have the full sentencing remarks, but the Judge is reported as saying “because of the extraordinary nature of the case there is an argument to say that the ordinary guidelines for theft should not apply. […] this case demonstrates exceptional circumstances.

The news reports also contain the Victim Impact Statement from Ms Healey and it is, unsurprisingly, profoundly moving.

So, although the sentence passed is more than we would have thought, given the background to it, it was a case where the Sentencing Guidelines go out the window. We would expect an appeal, but we doubt that it will be successful.



  1. Interesting. The guidelines already allow for “Deliberately targeting victim on basis of vulnerability” as a criterion for Category A (i.e. high) culpability. The judge must have decided that his actions went even beyond that, which I can kind of instinctively understand, but it would still be instructive for sake of comparison to know some examples of cases which were categorised as high culpability based on that criterion but which nonetheless did not qualify as exceptional circumstances.

  2. Having looked at the case a bit closer, it seems he was not just jailed for theft. Reports indicate that he did not show up on the day his trial was due to begin. He cut off his electronic tag and was subsequently found hiding in a loft in Halifax. That would have been an offence in itself.
    Even more reprehensibly, he took photos of the dying victims and later claimed to have sold them to a reporter for £100.
    Worst of all, when anxious relatives tried to contact the victims, he answered the phones/ replied to them by text message by saying, “Can’t talk right now.” – thereby potentially misleading the relatives into thinking their loved-ones were okay.
    Plus he also has several other previous convictions, including for theft, battery and heroin usage.
    Vile individual – and I believe the judge was correct to throw the book at him.

    • If the judge had wanted to pass a sentence based on the guidelines, no doubt he could have reflected these additional aggravating factors within that framework, and this presumably still would not have resulted in a 51 month sentence. (There must have been some discount for guilty plea, albeit not particularly early, and possibly some limited mitigation for the assistance he gave some people and for his financial circumstances.) I would hazard a guess that the decision to depart from the guidelines must be based on a more fundamental abhorrence of stealing from the injured and dying, rather than an accumulation of aggravating factors.

      • We won’t know for certain until/unless the sentencing remarks are issued. But I would expect him to have also been punished for attempting to ‘do a runner’ and not showing up in court. Apparently, he was also caught with heroin when the police finally found him in Halifax.