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Friday, Apr 16, 2021

Celebrity burglary trial: Woman arrested wearing Ecclestone earrings

Celebrity burglary trial: Woman arrested wearing Ecclestone earrings

A woman linked to burglaries on three celebrities' homes was wearing Tamara Ecclestone's rose gold earrings when she was arrested, a court has heard.

The socialite lost jewellery worth about £25m in the raid last December - including the £3,000 Noa earrings.

Bodycam footage shown to Isleworth Crown Court showed Maria Mester sporting the high-end accessories when she was detained at Stansted Airport.

She denies conspiracy to burgle and money laundering.

The court heard Ms Mester, 47, and her 30-year-old son Emil Bogdan Savastru were part of a "support cast" in the plot, which also targeted Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and former Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

A group of burglars - who cannot be named for legal reasons - is said to have committed the raids.

Ms Ecclestone's home was hit just hours after she, her husband, her daughter and dog, left the UK on 13 December for a Christmas holiday in Lapland.

Prosecutor Timothy Cray QC told jurors the earrings were among nearly 400 items" taken from Ms Ecclestone's "Vault room" and specially commissioned jewellery cabinet.

Ms Mester was stopped at Stansted Airport on 31 January and confronted about the earrings in police interview.

She declined to comment and strenuously denied involvement in any burglaries, instead complimenting a detective on his "lovely blue eyes", the court heard.

When shown photos of her making transactions at Harrods and leaving Heathrow Airport for Belgrade five days after Ms Ecclestone's home was hit, Ms Mester answered no comment, adding that she "travels a lot".


The homes of Frank and Christine Lampard, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and Tamara Ecclestone and her husband were all broken into last December


Mr Cray told the court Ms Ecclestone's was the third target in a series of raids - with the first being Frank and Christine Lampard's home on 1 December.

An intruder alarm was activated as two rose gold ladies watches, a set of gold cufflinks, a white gold Cartier pocket watch and a Mia Lia gold necklace, worth a total of about £60,000, were taken.

On 10 December, Mr Cray said, two burglars "ransacked" Mr Srivaddhanaprabha's Knightsbridge home, which had remained untouched since his death in 2018.

Seven Patek Philippe watches - with a combined value of approximately £600,000 - and €400,000 in cash were taken, the court heard.

The raiders also took a collection of Thai Buddha pendants and a Tag Heuer smartwatch worth £1,500.

Mr Cray said Mr Savastru had been wearing the same watch when he was arrested at Heathrow airport on 30 January - a day before his mother was apprehended.

He was also in possession of a Louis Vuitton bag bought by Ms Ecclestone's husband Jay Rutland in 2011, the court heard.

Mr Savastru's flatmate, Gergo Munzenreider, said he was told a Louis Vuitton bag in his room was a gift from friends.

Ms Mester and Mr Savastru are accused alongside Alexandru Stan, 49, and Sorin Marcovici, 52.

The trial continues.

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