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Tamara Ecclestone burglary not an inside job, guard says

image copyrightPA Media
image captionOn the morning of the burglary Tamara Ecclestone had left the UK for a Christmas holiday

A security guard working the night £25m-worth of property was stolen from Tamara Ecclestone's mansion has denied it was an inside job.

Ian Eltringham said "virtually every room" in the building had been broken into on the night of 13 December 2019.

Another guard, Martin Akerman, described the aftermath of the successful raid as "absolute carnage".

Maria Mester, Emil Bogdan Savastru, Alexandru Stan and Sorin Marcovici deny conspiracy to burgle.

Ms Mester, 47, her 30-year-old son Mr Savastru, Mr Stan, 49, and Mr Marcovici, 52, were the "support cast" to the burglars, jurors have heard.

image copyrightFacebook
image captionJurors have been shown an image from Maria Mester's Facebook account, in which she is said to be wearing Tamara Ecclestone's necklace

Hours before the burglary Ms Ecclestone, her husband Jay Rutland, and their daughter, had left for Lapland on a family Christmas holiday, jurors were told.

At 22:00 GMT, three men were able to access Ms Ecclestone's home which is opposite Kensington Palace and on the same road as the Russian, Israeli and Romanian embassies.

After confronting the burglars, Mr Eltringham said he gave chase and was able to "slow one of them down", but the trio were able to escape through a back window.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionA Cartier bangle worth £80,000 was reportedly stolen in the burglary

A transcript of Mr Eltringham's 999 call made just after 23:00 was read to the court by Ms Mester's defence barrister, Leonard Smith QC.

He told police: "They have gone over the back fence. There were three foreign guys. They are heading in a westerly direction round the back of Palace Green heading towards Kensington Church Street.

"Three white males, all around 5ft 10, wearing hats and had their faces covered as well. Probably around 40-year-old mark."

'Exceptionally lucky'

Mr Smith asked the security worker: "Did you play any role in having the alarms deactivated that night?"

"No I didn't," Mr Eltringham replied.

He added he thought the burglars were "exceptionally lucky" and told the court he did "several walkthroughs" with police officers after the burglary.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionJay Rutland, Tamara Ecclestone and their daughter had left for Lapland on the morning of the burglary

Mr Eltringham added: "Speaking to a police officer on the night he said they believed they came in [through] a small window.

"Virtually every room in the building had been broken into.

"Most of the doors were clearly smashed, I would suspect there was a lot of damage done by a screwdriver or a crowbar, smashing and prizing the doors open.

"It looked liked the rooms had been ripped apart."

'Darted out of Tesco'

Prosecutor Timothy Cray QC asked Mr Eltringham if there was "any truth" in the suggestion he had "helped the burglars" on 13 December.

"No I did not," he replied.

On shift with Mr Eltringham that night was Mr Akerman - who at the time of the burglary had nipped to a Tesco for some food and to fuel up a Land Rover Discovery.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionTamara Ecclestone, pictured with father Bernie, worked on F1 magazine and also modelled for Armani

Mr Akerman said he was "not aware" of three men having come into the mansion.

"I went to pick up a side dish of vegetables, I had a chicken that needed to be eaten so I was going to cook some dinner.

"When in Tesco I was there for a minute and received a call from Ian saying, 'Martin you need to hurry up and get back here, someone's tried to break in.'

"I could tell by the adrenaline in his voice he wasn't joking, so I darted out of Tesco leaving my shopping to get back."

image copyrightPA Media/GettyImages
image captionThe homes of Frank and Christine Lampard, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and Tamara Ecclestone and her husband were all broken into last December

Ms Ecclestone's multimillion-pound property was the third high-end home to be targeted by a team of burglars in the space of 13 days.

Watches were taken from the home of Chelsea manager Frank Lampard on 1 December and about £1m worth of goods were stolen from the family of former Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in Knightsbridge on 10 December.

The trial continues.

Related Topics

  • Stanmore
  • Bethnal Green
  • Kensington
  • Knightsbridge

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