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Homeless Manchester attack "hero" denies theft charges

A homeless man who had been hailed as a hero for comforting the injured in the aftermath of the May 22 bombing outside Manchester Arena, which saw 22 killed and dozens injured after an Ariana Grande concert, denied stealing a cell phone and a bank card from victims on the night of the attack, BBC News reports.

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33-year-old Chris Parker was arrested and charged with two counts of theft for allegedly taking purse contents from Pauline Healey as she lay injured on the ground. Healey's granddaughter, 14-year-old Sorrell Leczkowski, was killed by the explosion, which went off as people were leaving the concert on May 22.

In an interview with the Press Association on the day after the bombing, Parker said the blast, "knocked me to the floor and then I got up and instead of running away, my gut instinct was to run back and try and help." He was widely hailed as a hero in the media, and more than 50,000 GBP was raised for him on a crowd funding platform, the Guardian newspaper reports.

Healey spent several days in a coma after the explosion, and had to have surgery to have shrapnel removed from her body.

Parker was remanded into custody after a hearing on Wednesday and will next appear at Manchester Crown Court on September 13.