IT could have been so very different.
The beggar lauded as a hero after boasting he came to the aid of the maimed and mutilated in the Manchester bomb attack last year could have been receiving medals and accolades.
He might have been the subject of a Hollywood movie, possibly portrayed by an earnest actor such as Jake Gyllenhaal.
He could have been given the freedom of the city, job offers would have flooded in and he had a real chance to turn his life around.
Instead, the man we believed was a hero has turned out to be an utter scumbag.
Far from helping those terrified, suffering victims, some of whom were dying from their injuries, Chris Parker, stole their money and even took pictures of their agony on a mobile phone.
Everyone thought he was being modest when he played down his role as a kind-hearted angel of mercy, but he knew the truth, and CCTV images confirmed it to the rest of the world when he was caught red-handed foraging for easy pickings.
Unforgivably, he stole injured Pauline Healey’s purse while she lay stricken beside her dying granddaughter, 14-year-old Sorrell Leczkowski.
Later he used Pauline’s credit cards in a nearby McDonald’s.
He was seen picking up a coat and giving it a shake to see if any spoils fell from the pockets.
He crept around the victims for more than 20 minutes and made off with other personal possessions, then portrayed himself as a saintly figure giving help and succour to those in pain.
The public were so impressed by his apparent decency and humanity, they donated £50,000 to an appeal in Parker’s name.
His estranged mother was so overcome to see her “heroic” son in the news she travelled from her Norfolk home to Manchester to lavish praise on him.
He was hailed as a light in the darkness of the terrorist attack that killed 22 innocent people.
But it transpired that his story reeked to high heaven.
I cannot imagine what sort of person would stoop so low.
This is a whole new level of despicable.
What on Earth was going on in his head?
There he was, caught up in a terror attack and his first deliberate action was to steal from the helpless victims.
I just don’t understand.
Most people in that situation would be utterly traumatised and either run away as fast as they could or stay put to help those in dire need.
I think we wanted to believe this story because it demonstrated that even though he was homeless and had very few possessions, Parker appeared to be the antithesis of the murdering terrorist Salman Abedi, who cynically targeted a concert mainly attended by children and teenagers.
When that vile killer detonated his home-made suicide bomb stuffed with shrapnel, he was hoping to murder and maim as many people as possible.
We desperately wanted to think that, amid all that hatred, there was also love and compassion, and Parker played up to his assigned role of the loser who turns out to be the good guy.
I can’t help but compare this snivelling coward with courageous off-duty soldier Lt Jared Bambridge, who was caught up in last year’s London Bridge terror attacks.
Jared was out on a date with his girlfriend when terrorists ploughed a van into pedestrians and started a stabbing frenzy.
As people ran for their lives, 23-year-old Jared raced to help victims, putting his own life at risk as he applied first aid to their horrific wounds.
He helped at least a dozen people that night, and proved he is the best of the best,
I was lucky enough to meet Jared at The Sun’s Millie awards last month, where we all have a chance to honour our Armed Forces.
As you would expect of a bona fide hero, he modestly played down his life saving deeds, saying that anyone would do the same.
They wouldn’t though.
And sadly, thieving Chris Parker is the living proof of that.
TONIGHT sees the first ever episode of Wedding Day Winners, on BBC One, 7.25pm.
I’m lucky to host it alongside comedian Rob Beckett, who I’ve adopted as a member of my family.
Rob is funny, silly and hugely likeable. We laughed and cried all the way through these feelgood episodes that see two couples battle it out to win a dream honeymoon, then get married at the end of the programme.
The studio audience is made up of our couples’ wedding guests, their top table and friends and family.
They are not only invited to the wedding but also have to play their part in winning some fantastic prizes for the soon-to-be newlyweds throughout the show.
It’s something new for a Saturday night that the whole family can enjoy together.
There are some truly zany games, as well as heart-tugging surprises.
And the weddings are real tear-jerkers.
I loved being part of something so fresh and enjoyable and feel very grown up to be on BBC prime time TV.
Three episodes are being aired in January and the rest will be shown in the spring.
I hope you are able to watch and enjoy the show.
As always, I would love to know what you think.
THERE’S a new addition to our family in the shape of Angus, an adorable border terrier puppy.
He’s peeing, pooing and chewing everything in sight, including my best pair of high heels.
But he is so cute you can forgive him anything.
I imagine it’s a bit like having a boyfriend from Love Island.
AMANDA BARRIE is delightfully bonkers.
She’s like a wide-eyed child and it seems ridiculous that she’s been on the planet for more than 82 years.
So take a bow whoever made the call and persuaded her to join the Celebrity Big Brother house.
Amanda is funny, self deprecating and great company, and a far sexier Cleopatra than screen goddess Elizabeth Taylor, as she so beautifully demonstrated in Carry On Cleo.
I am expecting great things.
She could just be the Celebrity Big Brother signing of the century.
AT first I thought Joe Wicks was promoting a steamy 2018 calendar in The Sun this week.
Those oiled up, bare chested photos and pouty poses were all very Zoolander.
Still, if it gets everyone up off their bums doing some exercise, as well as eating in a healthy way, then gorgeous Joe can take his top off as often as he likes.
I WALLOWED in the wonderful BBC drama Feud over Christmas and New Year, bingeing in the same way I guzzled an entire selection box and two chocolate oranges.
The rivalry between screen legends Joan Crawford and Bette Davis was brought to life brilliantly.
Susan Sarandon inhabited Bette without being a caricature and Jessica Lange perfectly portrayed the desperation and vulnerability of Joan Crawford.
The sin these incredibly talented women committed was simply growing older, because back in the late Fifties and Sixties there were no good parts for ageing actresses.
Hollywood was brutal and no matter how brightly a star shone in their heyday, and Bette and Joan were supernovas, when studio bosses decided they were no longer objects of desire they were unceremoniously booted out.
Hollywood is still tough but at least women of a certain age are no longer automatically dumped on the scrap heap.
Meryl Streep, 68, Jane Fonda, 80, and Diane Keaton, 72, still make good films.
Our top British film actresses are Dame Judi Dench and Dame Helen Mirren. Judi is 83 and Helen is 72. Both are at the height of their powers.
On ITV this week we had the new drama Girlfriends, starring three fantastic women, Phyllis Logan, 61, Miranda Richardson, 59, and Zoe Wanamaker, 68.
Over on Sky1 Dawn French (who impossibly is 60 years old) shines in Delicious.
Bette and Joan would have killed for the roles being played by all of these wonderful women.
It was sad to see both of these stars ending up in schlock horror films just to keep working and pay the bills.
Although we still have a long way to go, Hollywood is trying to clean up its act, introducing equal pay and starting to understand the value of mature actresses.
Just a shame it was too late for Davis and Crawford.
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