A Romanian cleaner has denied involvement in a £50 million jewellery and cash raid on heiress Tamara Ecclestone’s home.
Maria Mester, 47, and her 29-year-old son Emil-Bogdan Savastru are charged with conspiracy to commit burglary over the heist at Miss Ecclestone’s £70million mansion on ‘Billionaires’ Row’ in Kensington, west London, before Christmas.
Miss Ecclestone, the daughter of ex-Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, had left the country with her husband Jay Rutland and their daughter Sophie for a three-week holiday the day their home was burgled on December 13.
Among the items allegedly stolen from the 57-bedroom home are a £300,000 pair of rare 18-carat diamond earrings and a Louis Vuitton bag.
Mester was allegedly wearing the earrings when she was arrested after arriving at Stansted airport on January 31, travelling from Italy where she lives.
Maria Mester, 47, (pictured) and her 29-year-old son Emil-Bogdan Savastru are charged with conspiracy to commit burglary over the heist at Miss Ecclestone’s £70million mansion on ‘Billionaires’ Row’ in Kensington, west London , before Christmas
Mester’s bartender son, who was intended to be brought to Isleworth Crown Court, was not present as Wandsworth prison staff believed he was also appearing via video link
The heist at Ecclestone’s house (pictured) took place on one of London ‘s most exclusive streets, nicknamed Billionaire’s Row, in Kensington
It is claimed her son Savastru, of Bethnal Green, was found in possession of a Louis Vuitton bag similar to one taken in the raid and was planning to board a flight to Japan when he was arrested.
Mester today appeared in court via video link and spoke through an Italian interpreter from HMP Bronzefield.
Wearing all black, the 47-year-old wept quietly throughout the hearing.
She confirmed her name, nationality and date of birth and denied one charge of conspiracy to burgle and one charge of concealing criminal property.
She said: ‘Not guilty, I wasn’t even there.’
Thomas Williams, prosecuting, said it may take some time for the trial as police are still collecting evidence.
He said: ‘She has not provided her PIN number to her telephone. We are currently at an impasse.’
The raid came after documents showing drawings of each room were said to have been made available online when the couple (pictured) submitted a planning application to renovate their mansion
Mester today appeared in court via video link and spoke through an Italian interpreter from HMP Bronzefield (pictured with her son)
Savastru was not present at Isleworth Crown Court due to an error at HMP Wandsworth and will be arraigned on Thursday, March 5.
Most of the £50m of stolen property has never been recovered.
A 21-year-old man was also arrested with Mester at Stansted airport on 31 January was released under investigation, as was a 31-year-old man arrested in east London the day before.
Judge Robin Johnson to Mester: ‘I am going to fix your trial to July 20. We were expecting your son to come to court today but there was a misunderstanding at his prison.’
The judge later ordered that Savastru will appear in custody for a preliminary hearing on March 3.
Ms Ecclestone was said to have been left ‘shaken’ by the raid on her hidden safes at the 55-room property near Hyde Park, where neighbours include Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and the Sultan of Brunei.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Kensington Palace residence is one road from Mrs Eccleston’es neighbours Palace Green mansion.
Tamara Eccolestone, her husband Jay and daughter have shared photos of the luxury mansion on social media in the past, and featured it on their ITVbe reality show.
Maria Mester, 47, and bar worker Emil-Bogdan Savastru, 29, are charged with conspiracy to commit burglary at Miss Ecclestone’s £70m mansion in Palace Green, Kensington, on December 13. Pictured: The F1 heiress enjoying a winter break in Gstaad, Switzerland, alongside her husband and daughter
Ecclestone’s house (pictured) has 24-hour security and checkpoints because of the rich residents and embassies on the road
Prosecutor Simon Arloff earlier told how property worth £50million including currency, jewellery and watches was stolen by the raiders, who entered through the garden.
The raid came after documents showing drawings of each room were said to have been made available to view online when the couple submitted a planning application to renovate their mansion.
The application was reportedly made available shortly after the F1 heiress and her husband Jay Rutland bought the property in 2011.
It included the location of a safe and information on the alarm system. Even though the stolen jewellery was not in the safe, the plans could have made the luxury home a target for thieves.
A source close to the heiress said she was deeply upset by the suggestion that she might have unwittingly helped burglars break into the home.
Mester, 47, denies conspiracy to commit burglary and concealing criminal property and was remanded in custody.
Savastru, 29, has not yet been arraigned and will appear on Thursday 5 March at Isleworth Crown Court.