A Romanian sex worker who refused to give her PIN code to police after she was caught wearing a pair of £3,250 diamond earrings stolen in the £25million raise on Tamara Ecclestone’s mansion has been freed from jail.
Maria Mester, 48, smoked a cigarette and stepped into a Rolls Royce waiting for her outside Isleworth Crown Court after being cleared of involvement in the heist.
She had insisted that Ms Ecclestone’s jewellery had been given to her as a gift for her escort services, but admitted refusing to disclose the pin to her phone when she was arrested after landing at Heathrow on 30 January last year.
Maria Mester, 48, pictured above in the photo posted to Facebook, showing her wearing a pair of £3,250 earrings and a necklace (circled) belonging to Tamara Ecclestone
Mester, pictured above, getting into a black Rolls Royce waiting for her outside Isleworth Crown Court after she was cleared of involvement in the heist
She was wearing a pair of ‘Octopussy’ earrings stolen in the Ecclestone raid and a Facebook picture showed her wearing them with a necklace also belonging to the F1 heiress. The court heard she probably knew the jewellery was the proceeds of crime.
Police are still attempting to crack the code to her phone, while Mester claims she did not want to hand over the number because it would reveal the identity of her high profile sex clients.
She told officers: ‘So I’m not thinking about it, I’m not giving it.’
Mester continued to refuse to disclose the PIN number after a formal legal notice was served to her on 13 May with the approval of a judge.
Judge Martin Edmunds, QC, told Mester: ‘Whatever the level of planning or sophistication of the burglars they came from abroad to commit these offences and clearly relied on assistance, whether knowing or unknowing, of locals, or people such as Mester with local connections.
The Rolls Royce used to drive Mester away from court. She continued to refuse to disclose the PIN number after a formal legal notice was served to her on 13 May with the approval of a judge
‘Nervous’: Tamara Ecclestone’s husband Jay Rutland has said that the Formula One heiress has become ‘nervous’ since their 55-room mansion in Kensington Palace Gardens, London, was burgled in December 2019 (pictured in October 2019)
‘It is evident that Mester was a proper subject of the investigation and that the content of communications between her and others – whether co-accused or alleged burglars were potentially highly relevant to the enquiries.
‘The extent of communication evidence that was recovered from other sources makes that clear.
‘Although she did not say so in terms I understood the reason she was advancing was that she was concerned about the police learning information about her client base.
‘It is not for me to speculate about what the phone would or would not have revealed.
‘Difficult’: The art gallery owner, 39, said that it is ‘incredibly difficult’ seeing the impact on his wife, 36, after burglars made away with £25million in cash and jewellery (Tamara pictured with daughters Sophia and Serena in December)
‘But the content of the mobile phone was clearly a proper and important part of building the evidence about the burglaries and a likely source of information about, or leads as to, the whereabouts of one of the key suspects in the burglary case.
‘By your actions you prevented access to that information. You had chosen a lifestyle associating with men of substantial means who, and I use your own phrase, you regard as golden geese to get what you could from them.
‘Either, as I consider to be the case having presided over the main trial, you were perfectly aware that you were associating with criminals, or to put it more charitable, could not have cared less where clients got their money as long as you got your share.
‘Whilst I accept that you had worked as an escort and that you therefore saw maintaining discretion as part of that role, I am equally satisfied that your decision not to provide that pin was a calculated one.’
Burgled: Among the items taken from Tamara’s £70m mansion were £3,250 earrings and a necklace worth £6,000. Police described it as the biggest house raid ever seen in the UK (pictured)
Mester was handed 10 months but was released late yesterday after spending 11 months in jail awaiting trial for the burglary conspiracy.
She lit up a cigarette, flicked a victory sign and then got into a black Rolls Royce which had been waiting outside court for most of the day.
Mester had admitted refusing to disclose the PIN to her mobile phone, an offence under the Regulatory and Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
Her barman son Emile-Bogdan Savastru, 30, security worker Sorin Marcovici, 53, and Alexandru Stan, 49, were also cleared by a jury of being part of the burglar’s support team.
Family: Jay also claimed that their six-year-old daughter, Sophia, has been asking whether the burglars are ‘coming back’. The couple also have baby Serena, four months (pictured in 2018)
Deceased Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s home was burgled of a million pounds in cash and luxury watches, three days before the Ecclestone raid, on 10 December, 2019.
Watches and cufflinks worth £50,000 were grabbed from Frank and Christine Lampard’s home ten days earlier.
Savastru alone was convicted of attempting to conceal criminal property after he attempted to leave the country with Ecclestone’s Louis Vuitton Bag and Frank Lampard’s Tag Heuer smartwatch, worth a total of £2,500.
He was jailed for six months but also released having served the sentence on remand.