BBC News

Ecclestone burglary trial: Accused 'went on Harrods spending spree'

Published
image copyrightFacebook
image captionJewellery worn in a Facebook photo of accused Maria Mester was identified as belonging to Tamara Ecclestone, jurors heard

A mother and son accused of helping a burglary ring steal property worth £26m from celebrities went on a spending spree, a court has heard.

Maria Mester, 47, and Emil Bogdan Savastru, 30, opened accounts at Harrods days after a raid on Tamara Ecclestone's mansion.

In three hours they spent more than £3,000 in cash on high-end items, Isleworth Crown Court heard.

Both deny conspiracy to burgle and money laundering charges.

The court previously heard they were part of a "support cast" in the plot, which also targeted the homes of Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and former Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

A group of three alleged burglars - who cannot be named for legal reasons - is said to have carried out the string of raids between 1 and 13 December last year.

On 17 December, four days after Ms Ecclestone's home was burgled, Mr Savastru opened his account with the luxury department store and spent £580 on Christian Dior cosmetics, the court heard.

His mother splashed out more than £1,000 on Louis Vuitton and Loro Plana menswear, £810 on Hermes goods and £635 on designer shoes.

Jurors have been told Ms Mester was wearing Ms Ecclestone's £3,000 rose gold earrings when she was arrested at Stansted Airport.

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

Prosecutor Paul Jarvis told the court Ms Ecclestone's husband Jay Rutland was shown an image from Ms Mester's Facebook page which showed her wearing the F1 heiress's jewellery.

He told officers he "immediately recognised" the "unique pieces" as items stolen in the burglary.

Mr Rutland identified the "distinctive rose gold diamond Octopussy drop earrings and also a distinctive necklace... identical in appearance to one I purchased for my wife."

The necklace - one of only 15 ever made - cost $7,980 and was bought for Ms Ecclestone's birthday, jurors were told.

Mr Jarvis told the court the burglars had also made off with £125,000 in cash and 200,000 Hong Kong dollars - about £20,000.

He said one of the foreign bank notes was found on a fence in the rear garden of Ms Ecclestone's home which the burglars had climbed over to make their escape.

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

Detailing the movements of the burglars and the "support cast" after the raid, Mr Jarvis said the group moved from a "base" in Orpington to an AirBnB in Fulham which cost nearly £1,500.

Mr Savastru used his Mastercard to order a £42 pizza delivery to the address on 18 December, Mr Jarvis said.

He also used the card to purchase tickets to Milan and Belgrade for those involved in the heist, the court was told, and searched for "burglaries in London" on the Met Police website.

Mr Savastru's phone was also used to make searches about a Thai monk pendant and a Tag Heuer connected smart watch - items taken from late football boss Mr Srivaddhanaprabha's home.

Ms Mester and Mr Savastru are accused alongside Alexandru Stan, 49, and Sorin Marcovici, 52. who also deny conspiracy to burgle charges.

The trial continues.

Related Topics

  • Italy
  • Milan
  • Bethnal Green
  • Belgrade
  • Fulham
  • Kensington
  • Harrow
  • Knightsbridge

More on this story

  • Celebrity burglary trial: Woman arrested wearing Ecclestone earrings

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.