Police raid home of men arrested over Grenfell Tower effigy fire video

Police are searching the home of a father and son arrested after a vile video of revellers laughing at a Grenfell Tower effigy going up in flames.

They were identified as Bobbi Connell, 19, and Clifford Smith, 49, who live in a terraced residential home in South Norwood, south London.

They hosted a bonfire night party on Saturday night attended by a family and more than ten people where they filmed themselves taunting victims of the fire last June.

A black Jaguar X-type with an England flag emblem on its front registration plate and with QPR branded hanging accessories was parked on their home’s front porch.

Neighbours could not see the party but said it lasted throughout the evening and ended at about 9.30pm.

The pair are thought to have pulled down their St George’s Flag and laid it in their back garden because of the public outrage to the video.

Five men so far have been arrested after a vile video of revellers laughing as an effigy of Grenfell Tower went up in flames went viral.

The men aged from 19 to 55 are being held on suspicion of a public order offence after handing themselves into a south London police station last night.

The footage, which appears to have been taken over the weekend, showed people laughing as the cardboard “building” went up in flames.

A senior cop leading the Grenfell Tower probe said he was “appalled” by the “vile” after it was branded a “hate crime” by outraged viewers online.

All the men arrested are from south east London, according to police.

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: “The men, aged 49, 19, 46, 55 and 49, were arrested after they handed themselves in to a south London police station at 10pm on Monday.

“They have been taken into custody.”

Met Police Commander Stuart Cundy said: “I am frankly appalled by the callous nature of the video posted online.

“A total of 71 people died in the fire at Grenfell Tower, so many people lost so many loved ones, and many more have been deeply affected.

“To mock that disaster in such a crude way is vile.

“I can’t imagine the distress this video will undoubtedly cause to bereaved families and survivors.”

He added: “The Met’s Grenfell Tower investigation team is taking this matter very seriously.

“Any offences that have been committed will be fully investigated.”

The London Fire Commissioner has called footage shared online of a group of people burning a Grenfell Tower effigy on a bonfire ‘appalling and disgusting’.

The video has been slammed by social media users who have branded the act as a ‘hate crime’ and demanded the perpetrators be identified.

Outside the South Norwood home, a 77-year-old neighbour said: “They are the only one’s on this street with a St George’s Flag.

“I recognise them. They are clowns as far as concerned.

“The flag was still up on Sunday night – they must have took it down because of the furore.

“They always seemed a bit nationalistic. Who has a flag of St George flying on a flagpole all year round?

“There was about ten or a dozen people – there was a family there with kids and it sort of all ended about 9.30pm.

“If you fly a flag of St George permanently at the back with a flagpole, I should imagine you are pretty committed to your national identity. Perhaps it’s Brexit.

“It’s a shock and it’s disgusting. You must be a bit loopy.”

A mum-of-two and retired primary school headteacher, 58, who has lived on the street for 14 years, said she saw the video this morning.

She said: “It was awful really – it’s horrible to think it’s people living really close to you.

“I know they’ve got the England flag – St George’s flag in the back garden.

“It’s the only one I’ve seen in the whole street.

“Seeing the flag I would say that’s what it’s about. You do suspect they are nationalistic when you see that flag. ON the other hand when the football’s on people might want to put it up.”

The headteacher, who wished not to be named, was concerned children would see the video on social media.

She said: “I would not want a child to see that and that’s why we have keep educating them at school about what it’s about to live in the world together.

“They just come across as being really callous, ignorant and in a sense you would want to ostracise people like that.

“They don’t seem to be part of our community – they seem like outcasts to me behaving like that.

“It just keeps reminding you we need to instil our children with common decency.

“It’s just disappointing and every now and again you come across people like this.

“I never never noticed anything like that since I’ve been here.”

A mum-of-two and retired primary school headteacher, 58, who has lived on the street for 14 years, said she saw the video this morning.

She said: “It was awful really – it’s horrible to think it’s people living really close to you.

“I know they’ve got the England flag – St George’s flag in the back garden.

“It’s the only one I’ve seen in the whole street.

“Seeing the flag I would say that’s what it’s about. You do suspect they are nationalistic when you see that flag. ON the other hand when the football’s on people might want to put it up.”

The headteacher, who wished not to be named, was concerned children would see the video on social media.

She said: “I would not want a child to see that and that’s why we have keep educating them at school about what it’s about to live in the world together.

“They just come across as being really callous, ignorant and in a sense you would want to ostracise people like that.

“They don’t seem to be part of our community – they seem like outcasts to me behaving like that.

“It just keeps reminding you we need to instil our children with common decency.

“It’s just disappointing and every now and again you come across people like this.

“I never never noticed anything like that since I’ve been here.”

By Ben Gelblum and Berny Torre

MORE ON THIS STORY:

Five men arrested after ‘vile’ video of Grenfell Tower effigy torched goes viral

Police appeal to find makers of this ‘vile’ video mocking Grenfell Tower dead

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1 Response

  1. David Sykes

    Not sure if many of you have realised this yet but there are a couple of noteworthy things about this article:

    1) Most of the people who live in that street (and definitely those who were interviewed and quoted in the article) are obviously decent, caring people who were appalled to learn what their neighbours had done.

    2) That one household has brought disgrace and disrespect (on the ground for God’s sake) to the flag of St. George, which is now an obvious sign, saying: “Xenophobes and cunts live here” – i.e. it has become a badge of shame.

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