The ex-husband of Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone has claimed diamonds given to him by a “deceased member of the Royal Family” had been amongst gems stolen in a £30m raid at his house.
James Stunt, 38, informed Southwark Crown Court the theft from the protected at his £10m Belgravia house in December 2017 was “one of the largest in UK history”.
His former safety guard, Justinas Ivaskevicius, 34, is on trial accused of stealing a 16.18-carat yellow diamond ring valued at £515,000.
But Mr Stunt, who months earlier had cut up from Ms Ecclestone – daughter of former F1 tycoon Bernie – stated different extra worthwhile gadgets had been additionally stolen from his protected.
Giving proof, he stated: “I lost diamonds, some gifted to me. I’m not going to say from who in this court because it was a deceased member of the Royal Family.”
The jurors had been informed the protected additionally contained two blue diamonds, a pink diamond, a big white diamond, six 1kg gold bars, the yellow diamond ring and a Cartier engagement ring, which Stunt stated he gave to his ex-wife.
“She was rather rich, she threw it in my face,” he stated.
Stunt stated he was alerted to the alleged theft on the morning of 14 December 2017 by schoolfriend Alex Tulloch, who was senior vp of gold dealing agency Stunt & Co, and acted as his “wet nurse” throughout a tough interval of his life.
“The whole thing had been cleaned out. There was literally not a receipt left. They took both my passports – my diplomatic and citizen’s ones,” he stated.
As an image of a protected containing solely a single screw was proven in court docket, Stunt joked: “Maybe that was a signal, ‘you got screwed’.”
Under cross-examination from Michael Lavers, defending Ivaskevicius, Mr Stunt stated: “I would say the net worth of this burglary is anywhere between 20 million and 70 million (US) dollars.”
Mr Lavers stated: “If you take the values and tot them up, it’s roughly £30m we are talking about.”
Mr Stunt described himself as an “extremely wealthy” man on the time of the alleged theft, who had a gold assaying enterprise in addition to being an investor and dealing in fantastic artwork.
He informed the court docket he had moved into the Belgravia property lower than two weeks earlier following his acrimonious divorce from Ms Ecclestone and custody battle over their three youngsters.
Mr Stunt stated he didn’t know the place the protected was or that the important thing, to which Mr Tulloch and head of safety Gabriel Lekwara had entry, was saved in his Rolls Royce Phantom, parked outdoors, often alongside a Range Rover and a Lamborghini.
Prosecutors say Ivaskevicius, posing as “Sebastian Thomasz Kowal”, tried to promote the diamond ring to a jewelry supplier in Antwerp, Belgium, earlier than it was despatched to the Gemilogical Institute of America.
The court docket heard that the police investigation into the diamond theft additionally revealed that Ivaskevicius was concerned in a hashish farm, the possession of prison money, dealing with stolen cheques and the usage of numerous false identities.
Ivaskevicius, of Fallowfield in Cambridge, denies theft, two counts of possessing prison property, possessing an id doc with improper intention, producing a category B drug and 4 counts of dealing with stolen items.
The trial continues.