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Man who shared offensive video of cardboard Grenfell Tower on fire spared jail

Metro logo Metro 20/04/2022 Harrison Jones
Paul Bussetti pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Picture: PA) © Provided by Metro Paul Bussetti pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Picture: PA)

A man has avoided jail after he admitted sending a ‘grossly offensive’ video about the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Paul Bussetti pleaded guilty to one count at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, after the footage showed a cardboard model of the building being burned on a bonfire.

He was given a 10-week sentence, suspended for two years.

The 49-year-old, from Croydon, south London, was previously found not guilty after a two-day trial – but his acquittal was quashed by the High Court.

Bussetti filmed the footage at an annual bonfire party hosted by a friend in November 2018, just over a year on from the disaster which killed 72 people in West London.

It was widely shared in WhatsApp groups and made national news – sparking outrage.

The clip was criticised as ‘vile’ by a relative of one of the victims.

The 2017 tragedy in west London killed 72 people (Picture: PA) © Provided by Metro The 2017 tragedy in west London killed 72 people (Picture: PA)

The court heard Bussetti said in the video: ‘That’s what happens when you don’t pay the rent.’

There were direct and indirect references to the residents of Grenfell Tower in the clip, the court was told.

They included comments of: ‘Who’s jumping?’; ‘Don’t worry, stay in your flats’; and ‘Jump out of the window’.

Bussetti also uttered siren noises.

Another person – not Bussetti – made a racist comment, while people present could be heard laughing.

Comments heard in the video included ‘Who’s jumping?’ and ‘that’s what happens when you don’t pay the rent’, the court heard (Picture: AFP/Getty Images) © Provided by Metro Comments heard in the video included ‘Who’s jumping?’ and ‘that’s what happens when you don’t pay the rent’, the court heard (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

Bussetti sent the video to two WhatsApp groups – one football-related, and one for a holiday group.

Bussetti, wearing a dark suit and white shirt, shook his head in the dock as his comments were repeated in court.

The court heard he handed himself in to police when the footage went viral.

He is said to have told officers: ‘It was all over the telly and so we thought it was better to tell the truth.’

The cardboard model was burned in the video (Picture: PA) © Provided by Metro The cardboard model was burned in the video (Picture: PA)

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

A victim impact statement on behalf of the Grenfell victims said: ‘The overall reaction of the Grenfell community was one of shock, horror and outrage.’

Bussetti’s lawyer said it was not his intention to cause offence – but that he wanted to mock his own friends privately.

It was not established whether Bussetti was responsible for uploading the video to YouTube, nor whether it was his video, or a similar one, which was uploaded and went viral.

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