Paul Bussetti, the South Norwood man who posted a “disgusting” and “abhorrent” video of a Grenfell Tower model on social media, has been given a 10-week suspended jail sentence after admitting his crime.
Bussetti, 49, pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
The video clip, recorded at a Bonfire Night party in November 2018, shocked the public when it went viral a little more than a year after the Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people were killed.
At a two-day trial in August 2019, Bussetti was found not guilty of posting the video, but the Crown Prosecution Service appealed against the verdict. Bussetti’s acquittal was later quashed by the High Court. Judge Lord Justice Bean said then that he did not accept Bussetti’s argument – that the figures in the bonfire were his friends – as a defence.
At the latest hearing this week, chief magistrate Paul Goldspring said of the video that, “it was offensive to almost everybody who has an ounce of decency about them”.
Goldspring said he was “horrified” when he saw the film. “It was disgusting, it was disrespectful, it was abhorrent and it was – by the nature of the charge – grossly offensive.”
In court, Bussetti gave his address as Sundial Avenue, off South Norwood Hill. He and some of his associates involved in the notorious party were known to be members of the South Norwood Conservative Club.
When the video first appeared, community groups, including the South Norwood Tourist Board, organised a silent march to show their solidarity with the survivors of the Grenfell fire and the families who lost loved ones, as well as to protest against Bussetti’s actions.
The magistrates court this week heard that Bussetti filmed the footage and posted it in two WhatsApp groups.
The court heard direct and indirect references were made in Bussetti’s footage about the residents of Grenfell Tower.
According to the BBC, the comments included: “Who’s jumping?”, “Don’t worry, stay in your flats”, and “Jump out of the window”.
The court heard Bussetti said: “That’s what happens when you don’t pay the rent.” He could also be heard making siren noises.
Another person, who was not the defendant, could be heard making a racist comment in the video, while others could be heard laughing.
Bussetti handed himself in to police when the footage went viral. He is said to have told 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, 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” at the video.
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