Tamara Ecclestone burglary not an inside job, guard says

Tamara Ecclestone burglary not an inside job, guard says

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.

But he told jurors at Isleworth Crown Court he had no part in deactivating the security alarms that night.

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.

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.

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.

Mr Eltringham 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.”

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.

Mr Eltringham added: “Speaking to a police officer on the night he said they believed they came into 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.”

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

“No I did not,” he replied.

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.

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