Daniel Steventon – registration number 5026033 – was sentence to three-and-a-half years of jail time in 2019 for pretending to be a resident of the Grenfell Tower in west London at the time of the fire on June 14, 2017, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) fitness-to-practise committee was told at a hearing on August 3-4.
Mr Steventon falsely claimed to be an occupant of a flat in the Grenfell Tower, which entitled him to receive “£75,225 worth of accommodation, emergency payments and other services” from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC), the committee heard.
The regulator accepted that Mr Steventon – who was neither present nor represented at the hearing – had never faced disciplinary action before, that he had “various personal problems” and that there had been no risk to patients as his conviction was not related to his practice as a pharmacy technician.
But it said that Mr Steventon’s offence was “serious and reprehensible” and that the GPhC had not received any evidence of “genuine remorse, remediation or insight” from the registrant.
Mr Steventon committed the offence between August 2017 and April 2018, the council heard. Checks by RBKC revealed that another man, who died in the fire, was the sole tenancy holder of the one-bedroom flat where Mr Steventon had claimed to be a resident.
When interviewed by RBKC fraud representatives on April 19, 2018, he told them he had lived at Grenfell Tower since June 2016, paying the deceased tenant “£70 cash a week to sleep on the living room floor”.
On the night of the fire, Mr Steventon claimed to have slept in his car, after having fallen out with the deceased tenant, the council heard.
However, Mr Steventon had provided different accounts to other organisations. This included the charity Turning Point, whom he three days after the fire told had been living in his car “after his relationship with his ex-partner broke down”, without mentioning Grenfell Tower, the GPhC heard.
Mr Steventon first claimed to be a Grenfell Tower resident two months after the fire, leading him to be put up at the Mercure Hotel on Cromwell Road, paid for by RBKC. He remained at the hotel until April 2018, when he was interviewed by the fraud representatives.
Mr Steventon was “interviewed under caution” at Notting Hill police station in August 2018, where he denied the offence of “fraud by false representation”. He later pleaded guilty and on September 5, 2019 he was sentenced to three years and six-months' imprisonment at Isleworth Crown Court.
The regulator accepted that Mr Steventon had “reached a ‘low ebb’ in his life” due to different personal issues – for which his barrister told the court he would seek help while in prison – and that his conduct had caused no harm to patients as it was not related to his professional practice.
The GPhC also noted the registrant’s barrister’s assertion to the crown court judge that Mr Steventon had apologised to the family of the deceased.
However, it said he had defrauded “a public sector organisation (RBKC), to the tune of £75,000” and that, as mentioned by the judge on the day of his sentence, he “took advantage of the death of an innocent victim of the Grenfell Tower fire in a cynical and selfish way”.
As the registrant had not offered any evidence of working on his personal problems while in prison, the GPhC also “consider there is a high risk of repetition in the future”, it said.
It therefore decided to remove Mr Steventon from the register. A GPhC spokesperson told C+D last week (December 4) that he was removed from the register on September 4.
Read the full determination here.