A father and son and their neighbours who helped burn an effigy of Grenfell Tower at a bonfire party where yobs laughed as it went up in flames were today unmasked by MailOnline.
Bobbi Connell, 19, has been named by his grandfather as one of the men in the video and said he was ‘utterly shocked’ to see him in footage filmed on Saturday.
Bobbi is understood to have handed himself in to police with his father Cliff, 49, who hosted the shocking bonfire party at his home in South Norwood, south London, which has a scorched lawn today.
The teenager’s grandfather David Connell told MailOnline: ‘It’s an appalling thing to do given the tragic loss of life. It’s in dreadfully bad taste and utterly shocking and I don’t condone it at all. I don’t know what they were thinking.’
Bobbi and Cliff are believed be in Croydon Police Station with friend Paul Bussetti, 46, who lives in the neighbouring street.
Friend Mark Russell, 49, who lives around a two miles away in West Norwood with his wife of 27 years Debbie, was also in the film.
At least ten people including two women were at the party – it is still unclear which of the men in the crowd have handed themselves in after watching the ‘Grenfell Guy’ burn.
Mr Bussetti and his family, whose £500,000 home has a ‘party animals’ plaque in its porch, are scared for their safety after the joke ‘got out of hand’ having had ‘a few too many drinks’.
A close relative told MailOnline: ‘We’re in so much danger now. They didn’t want it to go this far. They are not racist. It’s been blown out of proportion. It was horrible what they’ve done. Let them try and forget it’.
The five suspects, aged 19, 46, 49, 49 and 55, have all been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence but detectives will consider if they can also be prosecuted for hate crimes.
Bobbi Connell, 19, pictured and circled in the video, has been named by his grandfather as being in the shocking Grenfell Tower bonfire film
Bobbi is understood to have handed himself in to police along with his father Cliff (pictured together)
Mark Russell, who lives around a two miles away in West Norwood with his wife Debbie (together left), is in the video (right). It is not known if he is in police custody.
Paul Bussetti, pictured, is also believed to have handed himself in and his family told MailOnline they are scared for their safety after the joke ‘got out of hand’
The garden belonging to Bobbi’s father Cliff in south London has ashes on its grass this morning (pictured centre) – believed to be from Saturday’s bonfire party
Today, police were searching bins outside home of Bobbi and Cliff on its drive.
A black Jaguar X-type with an England flag emblem on its front registration plate and with Queens Park Rangers FC branded hanging accessories was parked on their home’s front porch.
Bobbi Connell’s grandfather David has said he is appalled by the video, which shows his grandson
According to his Facebook page, teenager Bobbi attended Harris Academy in South Norwood and now works for Ralph Lauren, having previously been employed by JD Sports.
He supports his local Premier League football team Crystal Palace.
The Guy Fawkes revellers have caused revulsion having laughed as they burned a home-made Grenfell Tower effigy, complete with screaming victims at its windows.
The sick joke has caused a national outrage and sparked condemnation by the Prime Minister and the families of the 72 people who died in the inferno last June.
A woman who answered the door of suspect Paul Bussetti in South Norwood confirmed he had handed himself in to police.
The woman who said she was a close family member said: ‘Every year we have fireworks. They all make guys of each other. A few too many drinks have happened.
‘We’re in so much danger now. So much danger. They didn’t want it to go this far.’
The woman said the group has intended this year’s to be the effigy being Guy Fawkes.
In tears she said: ‘It’s not what it was. They are not racist. It’s been blown out of proportion. I admit it’s stupid, so stupid. The comments that were made were just not nice. It’s so bad. He’s going to be devastated. They knew it was wrong, that’s why they came forward.’
She added: ‘We fear for our safety. There’s nothing to understand. It was horrible what they’ve done. It was horrible. It was stupid. Let them try and forget it. They know what they have done. They are going to be paying now aren’t they.’
Another older woman who did not want to be named sobbed: ‘They regret doing it. They are not that sort of people.’
She added: ‘They’re hard working people. It was stupid and distasteful. There was no malice in it. When they’ve had a drink they’ve videoed it and passed it onto friends and it’s escalated’.
Police officers examine the contents of bins outside a house in South Norwood this afternoon
Police officers look at bins outside the house where a model of Grenfell was burnt on a bonfire
The scorched remains of what is likely to be the bonfire and the Grenfell Tower effigy they burned on Saturday
Cliff Smith is believed to have hosted the shocking bonfire party at his south London home (pictured)
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.
A 77-year-old neighbour said: ‘They are the only ones 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 mother-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.’
This is the horrifying moment a group of friends torched an effigy of Grenfell Tower on Bonfire Night which had faces on the side
A fallen England flag lies on the grass of Mr Smith’s garden today and it can clearly be seen in the background
The scorched earth of the garden where the bonfire party is believed to have taken place
Mr Connell said Bobbi, who is the son of his daughter Louise, was a ‘nice lad’ who he wouldn’t ‘expect to get involved in something like this.’
He said Bobbi’s father Cliff and his daughter split ‘years ago’ and saw his grandson once a year at Christmas.
The retired property manager, who says his health was broken when he contracted pneumonia through swine flu a few years ago, said: ‘I’ll be getting in touch with my grandson. It’s not on. I hope they haven’t committed a crime by doing this. It’s just in very bad taste.’
He said Bobbi was ‘not a bad lad’ and that he always had a job though he did ‘this and that’.
The men, who are in custody at a south London police station today, have not been identified but many are calling for them to be named and shamed.
The group of friends are seen holding the ‘tower’ – complete with paper figures at the windows – over a naked flame until it caught alight – howling with delight as it was engulfed.
Some shout ‘help me, help me’ while queuing for a selfie and one of the men is heard exclaiming: ‘That little ninja’s getting it now’ – an apparent racist comment about a Muslim woman in a burka depicted on its side.
Another replies: ‘That’s what happens when you don’t pay your rent’ and then a person shouts, laughing: ‘We can go rob the bottom flats’.
The arrests followed Theresa May damning the yobs, branding the video ‘despicable’ and their actions ‘unacceptable’.
On Twitter, the PM said: ‘To disrespect those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower, as well as their families and loved ones, is utterly unacceptable.’
These men crowded around the cutout and took photos. Do you know them? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
These men helped move the tower at the start of the film and could face police action if proved to be a hate crime
The Grenfell Tower blaze and the plight of its victims has shocked Britain and the Bonfire Night joke will also shock the nation
A total of 72 people perished as a result of the blaze in the west London block on June 14 2017, prompting an inquiry into how and why the disaster happened.
Is the sickening Grenfell bonfire video a hate crime?
Scotland Yard have said the shocking video of Grenfell Tower being burned as a bonfire guy may not be a crime.
But critics including MPs say the group – when unmasked – should face the full force of the law.
The law says:
Crimes committed against someone because of their disability, transgender-identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation are hate crimes.
Hate crime all into one of three main types: physical assault, verbal abuse and incitement to hatred.
First: Physical assault of any kind is an offence. If you’ve been a victim of physical assault you should report it. Depending on the level of the violence used, a perpetrator may be charged with common assault, actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm.
Second: Verbal abuse, threats or name-calling either in public are a crime.
Third: The offence of incitement to hatred occurs when someone acts in a way that is threatening and intended to stir up hatred. That could be in words, pictures, videos, music, and includes information posted on websites.
Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy, who is leading the investigation into last year’s inferno, said he was ‘frankly appalled by the callous nature’ of the video.
He added: ‘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 said the Met’s Grenfell Tower investigation team is ‘taking this matter very seriously’ and that any offences committed ‘will be fully investigated’.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said it was ‘too early’ to state what type of offences could have been committed.
Khadijah Mamudu, whose mother and younger brother escaped the fire, said she was stunned by the footage.
‘I really don’t know what to say, for once I’m honestly lost for words,’ she said. ‘The community is stronger together and even this vile act by flag-waving, intellectually challenged, brainwashed sheep won’t derail the fight for justice, nor will it knock us off our stride as we walk forward, in dignity, in unity, in solidarity.’
London’s most senior firefighter has joined victims and their families in condemning the ‘appalling and disturbing video’.
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton, who told the inquiry she is receiving therapy after suffering significant memory gaps after being at the scene of the harrowing blaze, said: ‘This is an appalling and disturbing video.
‘To intentionally use and mock the Grenfell Tower fire in this way will cause deep pain and offence to the bereaved, survivors, the local community and all of the emergency services who will never forget that night. It cannot be justified on any level.’
The shameful home video begins with laughter as the effigy is taken into the back garden with people queuing to take pictures of it.
Raucous laughter can be heard off-camera, with several bystanders speaking with southern English accents.
One can be heard saying: ‘Didn’t it start from the tenth floor, though?’, while others mockingly add: ‘Help me! Help me!’ and ‘Jump out the window!’ Another says: ‘Here we go’ as the fire takes hold.
At the end of the clip, someone else can be heard saying: ‘That’s what happens when they don’t pay their rent.’
One witness is heard to refer to the model as being in ‘really bad taste’, something sarcastically agreed by another person off-camera, who appears to count seven others stood around watching.
The video ends as the model is completely consumed by the fire, with one bystander saying: ‘Perfect.’
They then moved it on to a specially constructed plinth on top of a roaring bonfire
This yob got close to take a photo of it in distressing scenes sickeningly lampooning Britain’s worst residential fire
The shocking video shows the collapse of the tower and will horrify many people, especially those touched by the tragedy in west London
Campaigners described the video as a ‘sickening act of hate’.
Natasha Elcock, from Grenfell United, said: ‘It’s a disgusting video. We hope that the police are taking this seriously’.
Justice4Grenfell said the video ’caused great alarm and distress’, and called on police to investigate.
A spokesman added: ‘This was an unnecessary sickening act of hate against those who, through no fault of their own, have experienced the worst since 14 June 2017.
‘This is clearly a hate crime and as a society we should never tolerate these types of blatant acts of hatred.’
Police have been urged to investigate it as a hate crime
London mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘I utterly condemn this sickening video. The horrific Grenfell Tower fire was one of the most devastating tragedies our city has ever suffered – and I urge social media companies to do the right thing and remove this content immediately.’
Labour MP Emma Dent-Coad, whose Kensington constituency contains Grenfell Tower, told MailOnline: ‘To recreate a very recent atrocity where people saw their own families burnt to death is reprehensible and criminal. These people should be subject to the criminal justice system.
‘I cannot imagine why anybody would find that funny. It is absolutely despicable.’
Westminster north MP Karen Buck tweeted: ‘Imagine how utterly lacking in human empathy you would have to be to do this. How incapable of understanding another person’s pain and fear. What a depressing, shameful episode’.
Men can also be heard making fun of the fire service’s infamous advice given to residents of the tower when the fire first broke out to stay in their flats.
A man said: ‘Stay in your flat we are coming to get ya’ while another counsels the flat residents to ‘jump out the window’.
The video was first posted on Twitter by Kay Oldroyd who is furious at what has happened after it was sent to her via WhatsApp.
Sickened Ms Oldroyd has asked the Met Police on Twitter if it can be reported as a hate crime.
She said: ‘I want these beasts prosecuted. Flying the English flag and enjoying a good old laugh at the expense of 100’s of lives who died in the most horrific way.
‘This is the sick mentality of racist, bigoted individuals. As much as I hate to share this video I want them identified.’
Piers Morgan said: ‘My God, what am I watching? This is unbelievable. Who are these disgusting vermin’.
The video has caused revulsion online with MPs and celebrities calling it shameful and disgusting
The Grenfell dead mercilessly mocked by sick bonfire revellers: The 72 people killed on fateful night of tower tragedy
The worst residential fire in Britain since the Second World War killed 72 people and displaced up to 200 families.
Those who died were of 19 different nationalities and included 18 children.
The youngest victim was the unborn baby Logan Gomes, who was stillborn after his mother Andreia Perestrelo and Marcio Gomes escaped the flames.
The Grenfell Tower blaze claimed victims of all ages and of many different nationalities
Six-month-old baby Leena Belkadi was found dead in her mother, Farah Hamdan’s, arms in the stairwell between the 19th and 20th floor of the building.
Active pensioner Sheila Smith, 84, was the oldest victim. She had lived in her flat for 34 years.
The 72nd victim, Maria del Pilar Burton, died in hospital more than six months after the blaze, from complications sustained after the fire.
The inquiry into the fire started with more than a week of heartbreaking tributes by the families of each of the victims.
Many families had prepared photos of those who died, some presentations included videos of the victims’ happiest times and the families’ most precious memories of them.
Ligaya Moore, 78, loved her Grenfell Tower flat on the 21st floor as it made her feel on ‘top of the world’.
She had lived in the UK for 43 years and enjoyed long walks with friends across London.
Her friend Nenita Bunggay said during an emotional tribute that Mrs Moore was her ‘mother, sister, everything’, adding: ‘She was so proud to live in Grenfell.
She would always say every time we walked past: ‘Nenita, that’s my building, 21st floor. It’s a big building and I love it so much, even though I’m alone there, I love seeing it every day.’
Residents of 12 of Grenfell’s 23 floors died in the horrific blaze last summer
Vincent Chiejina, 60, was found dead on the 17th floor of the tower, on which he lived.
In a video, his younger sister Obi told of how the pair had spent their early years in Nigeria before their family moved to the UK.
As a teenager he loved science fiction and ‘watched religiously’ Star Trek, while he excelled at maths in school.
His sister said: ‘I think he was also quite good at looking after people who were quite vulnerable like himself, so would he never reject anybody just because they were less privileged than himself, and he was always good at spotting that, not exploiting it, but wanting to quietly support them with whatever troubles they had but also making them feel good.’
One of the fire’s most high-profile victims, Khadija Saye, 24, died when she was on the cusp of a major career breakthrough.
Her friend David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, was among those on stage during her commemoration, which featured a snippet from the BBC documentary she had been due to appear in, following her as she launched a photography exhibition in Venice.
Her father, Mohammadou Saye, said in a statement read by his solicitor: ‘Khadija said to me one day: ‘Daddy, I’m in love with images’ – it was this passion that Khadija pursued to the end because it gave her great satisfaction and brough her some joy and happiness.
Firefighters from the fire stations of North Kensington, Chelsea, Kensington and Kingston stand during a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the fire at nearby Grenfell Tower in June this year
Father Abdulaziz, 52, wife Faouzia, 41, and children Yasin, 20, Nur Huda, 16, and Mehdi, eight, who lived on Floor 21 all died.
Abdulaziz, a porter at University College London Hospital for 22 years who was known as ‘Aziz’, was described as a ‘popular colleague known for being kind to his patients’.
Born in Morocco, he moved to the UK as a child and became the heart of the family when his father died.
Mother Faouzia El-Wahabi, was remembered as a wonderful baker who had a talent for sewing.
Yasin was a university student who studied part-time so he could continue his contributions to the community, officiating as a football referee at local games.
Nur Huda was in the middle of her GCSEs when she died and was described as an inspiration to those around her.
‘We all wanted to be like her,’ Mariam El-Wahabi, her younger cousin, said.
The youngest, Mehdi, was described by his head teacher as a ‘true team player’ who loved sports and was particularly talented at karate. He was the ‘baby’ of the family who collected toys and displayed them on his bedroom desk.
‘It is difficult knowing that Mehdi will never be able to play with us ever again,’ his nine-year-old cousin Sara said.