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Council finance manager who stole £62,000 meant for Grenfell fire survivors is jailed



A council worker who stole tens of thousands of pounds from a Grenfell fire victim fund and the NHS has been jailed.

Jenny McDonagh, 39, illegally took much of the money while working as a finance manager at Kensington and Chelsea Council.

She has now been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison at Isleworth Crown Court after earlier pleading guilty to charges of fraud, theft and concealing criminal property.

McDonagh, of southeast London, went on luxury holidays to Dubai and Los Angeles, dined in expensive restaurants, shopped and went on a gambling spree with the £62,000 of money meant for survivors of the fire.

She took the money over a 10-month period, and spent £32,000 of it on gambling, racking up around £16,000 in losses.

McDonagh also stole a further £35,000 while previously working for the NHS.

Jenny McDonagh took money meant for Grenfell survivors
Jenny McDonagh took money meant for Grenfell survivors

Judge Robin Johnson told her: “You knew exactly what these funds were for and the importance of them for the residents.

“The scale of your dishonesty in this fraud beggars belief.

“I do not know your current financial position but I very much hope the funds can be recovered from you.”

Edward Daffarn, a survivor of the fire and vice chairman of campaign group Grenfell United, told the court about the impact of the fraud on his community.

He said on Thursday: “It is like pouring salt on wounds of bereaved residents.”

The judge also said: “It must have been particularly abhorrent for Mr Daffarn to find out his name had been used by you in order to achieve your goal.”

Prosecuting barrister Benjamin Holt said that the money was spent on “frivolous items, for example £48 at Ann Summers”.


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Trips to Paris and Iceland were bought with pre-paid credit cards, as well as purchases in high street shops, it was noted.

McDonagh was employed by the west London council in October 2017 to assist with the distribution of money to survivors of the fire – which as meant for accommodation and essential items.

She took the money using pre-paid credit cards intended for five victims of the fire.

One of the cards, in Mr Darffan’s name, was topped up 17 times and more than £50,000 passed through the account.

After McDonagh was first arrested on 1 August, the stolen card was used again two days later.

The Grenfell Tower fire claimed the lives of 72 people on 14 June last year.

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