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Man Who Filmed 'Disgusting' Grenfell Tower Effigy Video Avoids Jail

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Man Who Filmed 'Disgusting' Grenfell Tower Effigy Video Avoids Jail

A man who filmed a video of an effigy of Grenfell Tower being burned on a fire has escaped jail.

49-year-old Paul Bussetti from Croydon in South London shared the ‘disgusting’ video in which he mocked the death of 72 people in the tragic tower fire on WhatsApp.

During the short clip, Bussetti could be heard to say ‘that’s what happens when you don’t pay the rent’.

He plead guilty to one charge of sending a ‘grossly offensive’ video at Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday.

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The Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring admitted to being ‘horrified’ upon seeing the video, and sentenced Bussetti to 10 weeks in prison, suspended for two years pending no further law-breaking.

Police handout of Paul Bussetti. Credit: PA
Police handout of Paul Bussetti. Credit: PA

Goldspring said: “It was disgusting, it was disrespectful, it was abhorrent and it was - by the nature of the charge - grossly offensive.

“I suspect it was offensive to almost everybody who has an ounce of decency about them.”

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Bussetti had previously been found not guilty following a trial, but that acquittal was quashed by the High Court, leading to a second set of proceedings.

The footage was filmed at an annual barbecue held at a friend’s house in 2018, before Bussetti shared the footage online, where it was called ‘vile’ by one of the people who lost a relative in the 2017 fire.

In the footage, people could be heard to make comments referencing the tragedy, including ‘who’s jumping?’, ‘jump out the window’, and ‘don’t worry, stay in your flats’.

72 people died in the fire at Grenfell Tower. Credit: Alamy
72 people died in the fire at Grenfell Tower. Credit: Alamy
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Others imitated emergency vehicle sirens and one person – not the defendant – made a racist remark, all whilst people laughed in the background.

“What struck me was not one person at that party seemed remotely upset or outraged or embarrassed by the racist remarks,” Mr Goldspring added.

The court was told that Bussetti decided to hand himself over to the police after the footage was widely shared.

He had sent it to one WhatsApp group relating to football, and another group for talking about a holiday.

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Bussetti was sentenced at Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday. Credit: PA
Bussetti was sentenced at Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday. Credit: PA

Bussetti was said to have told the police: “It was all over the telly and so we thought it was better to tell the truth.

“It was terrible, definitely offensive to people, it was just complete stupidness (sic), one of those stupid moments.”

A victim impact statement from the Grenfell victims read: “The overall reaction of the Grenfell community was one of shock, horror and outrage.”

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Bussetti’s lawyer argued that he did not intend to cause any offence, but rather to make fun of his own friends in private.

The court did not establish whether it was Bussetti’s film that was uploaded and went viral, and found that a version of the video posted to YouTube was not posted by Bussetti.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: UK News, Grenfell Tower, Crime, London

Tom Wood
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