Tamara Ecclestone recounts horror of £25m jewellery heist in London

Tamara Ecclestone recounts horror of £25m jewellery heist in London

07/21/2022

‘There’s still one of them out there and that’s hard to deal with’: Tamara Ecclestone recounts the horror of £25m jewellery heist – and says she no longer feels safe in her £70m mansion

  • Millionaire socialite Tamara Ecclestone reveals she will now always worry about being safe at home 
  • Gang of thieves stole £25million worth of jewellery from her £70million mansion in terrifying 2019 raid
  • Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter was on holiday with husband Jay Rutland and daughter Sophia at the time
  • Hundreds of items including jewellery, cash, diamonds and precious stones were stolen 
  • New documentary Who Stole Tamara Ecclestone’s Diamonds? will be on BBC Three at 9pm tonight

Millionaire socialite Tamara Ecclestone has described her fear at knowing that one of the thieves who stole £25million worth of jewels from her Kensington mansion has not been caught, and admitted she no longer feels safe at home.

The Formula One heiress and daughter of racing supremo Bernie Ecclestone had been on holiday in Lapland with her husband Jay Rutland and their daughter Sophia in December 2019 when the gang struck the £70million property in West London.

Jugoslav Jovanovic, Alessandro Maltese, and Alessandro Donati were jailed for a total of 28 years at Isleworth Crown Court in November last year for the terrifying raids. However, the suspected ring leader Daniel Vukovic remains at large and is thought to be in Serbia.

A new BBC documentary about Britain’s biggest domestic burglary called Who Stole Tamara Ecclestone’s Diamonds? also reveals how detectives who were struggling to find the burglars unmasked the crooks when one of them sent a so-called ‘d**k pic’ to a hotel’s out of hours phone.

Saying her life will ‘never be the same again’, Miss Ecclestone says: ‘They are disgusting. Now I have seen their faces it is kind of haunting, in a way.

‘Knowing that kind of person has been roaming around your house and helping themselves to my most treasured valuable possessions is just a horrible feeling. I feel like I can’t get those faces now out of my mind.

‘Definitely our lives will never be the same because there is always worry about the one thing I never used to worry about – which was being safe in this house.

Tamara Ecclestone appears on the new BBC Three documentary ‘Who Stole Tamara Ecclestone’s Diamonds?’ and reveals she will always worry about being safe at home

The raid was carried out on Miss Ecclestone’s £57million home in Kensington, West London

Croatian ring leader Daniel Vukovic, pictured at Heathrow, still remains at large and is thought to be in Serbia. Attempts have been made to extradite him, but these have been refused by the Serbian authorities. A Croatian national, Vukovic is known to Italian authorities under 17 more identities and his real name could be Alfredo Lindley. He has a criminal record dating back to 1995 and by 2017 his various aliases had links to Sarajevo, Belgrade, Zagreb and Milan, the BBC found



Gang members Jugoslav Jovanovic (left) Alessandro Maltese (centre), and Alessandro Donati (right) were jailed in 2019

A selection of the jewels stolen by the gang from Miss Ecclestone’s mansion

This handout shows the watches stolen from Miss Ecclestone’s Kensington home 

Burglar who stole £20m diamonds from Tamara Ecclestone was identified by a ‘D**K PIC’: Thief behind jewellery heist at £70m mansion was caught when he sent hotel worker a lewd picture 

The burglars who stole £25million worth of diamonds from Tamara Ecclestone were unmasked after one of them sent a ‘d**k pic’ to a hotel’s out of hours phone, a BBC documentary has revealed.

Police who cracked the infamous jewellery heist at the £70million Kensington mansion of Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter have revealed how they caught Jugoslav Jovanovic after he sent a hotel worker a lewd photo.

Scotland Yard Detective Constable Thomas Grimshaw has described asking a receptionist at a budget hotel called TLK Apartments in St Mary Cray about guests who stayed there in mid-December 2019.

To his astonishment, she told the detective about a man who had sent her colleague inappropriate messages on the hotel’s out of hours iPhone, including a so-called ‘d**k pic’. They saved his number as ‘Weirdo’.

By getting that number, Det Con Grimshaw identified Jovanovic and from there caught most of the gang behind Britain’s biggest domestic burglary.

‘I worried about so many other scenarios and situations. I just know that there’s still one of them out there and that is probably one of the things that is really hard to deal with.’

The suspected ring leader Vukovic currently remains at large and is thought to be in Serbia. Attempts have been made to extradite him, but these have been refused by the Serbian authorities.

A Croatian national, Vukovic is known to Italian authorities under 17 more identities and his real name could be Alfredo Lindley. He has a criminal record dating back to 1995 and by 2017 his various aliases had links to Sarajevo, Belgrade, Zagreb and Milan, the BBC found.

Police have also linked Vukovic to the alleged burglaries of international footballers Patrick Vieira and Sulley Muntari in 2009, according to Italian court documents.

The gang carried out three raids in West London over just 13 days in December 2019 – with the other victims being former Chelsea FC midfielder and manager Frank Lampard, 43, and his 42-year-old television presenter wife Christine, and the late Leicester City FC owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Police said the gang are believed to have carried out similar crimes against high-profile victims across Europe and had planned to commit further raids on the rich and famous in the UK.

Detectives have not revealed the identities of other potential victims, who did not know how close they came to being burgled as the thieves carried out reconnaissance missions and dummy runs.

Jovanovic, Maltese and Donati were extradited from Italy and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle between November 29 and December 18, 2019 over the three raids.

Jovanovic also admitted conspiracy to commit money laundering between December 10, 2019 and January 31, 2020, and one count of attempting to convert criminal property.

He was jailed for 11 years at Isleworth Crown Court in November 2019, while Maltese and Donati were each sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison.

The men were brought to the court in West London under armed police guard as a helicopter flew overhead.

Only a handful of items have been recovered with the rest of the £26million worth of loot believed to have been taken abroad.

The Lampards had around £60,000 in watches and jewellery stolen while they were out of their Chelsea property on December 1.

A Metropolitan Police photograph of jewellery at the Kensington home of Tamara Ecclestone

A Metropolitan Police photograph of screwdrivers left at the Miss Ecclestone’s property

On December 10, the gang targeted Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s Knightsbridge home, which had been turned into a shrine by his family following his death, aged 60, in a helicopter crash shortly after take-off from the King Power Stadium on October 27, 2018.

Among more than £1million in property stolen was a TAG Heuer watch he was wearing before he left for Leicester that day.

The burglars even popped a £500 bottle of Cristal champagne to drink as they carried out the raid and later celebrated with a £760 sushi meal in Knightsbridge restaurant Zuma.

On the way to the final £25million burglary at Miss Ecclestone’s house, Maltese stole a packet of chewing gum from a kiosk at Victoria station as the gang stopped to buy coffee and pastries.

Jovanovic and his uncle Vukovic were later seen on CCTV in Harrods department store spending thousands of pounds on luxury goods and signing up for loyalty cards using fake names.

Tamara Ecclestone and husband Jay Rutland at the Rosewood Hotel in London in November 2018 

Police van carries the three convicted burglars from Isleworth Crown Court following their sentencing in November 2021

Incredibly, detectives who were struggling to find the burglars unmasked the crooks when one of them sent a so-called ‘d**k pic’ to a hotel’s out of hours phone. 

Police who cracked the infamous jewellery heist have revealed how they caught Jugoslav Jovanovic after he sent a hotel worker a lewd photo.

Scotland Yard Detective Constable Thomas Grimshaw has described asking a receptionist at a budget hotel called TLK Apartments in St Mary Cray about guests who stayed there in mid-December 2019.

To his astonishment, she told the detective about a man who had sent her colleague inappropriate messages on the hotel’s out of hours iPhone, including a so-called ‘d**k pic’. They saved his number as ‘Weirdo’.

By getting that number, Det Con Grimshaw identified Jovanovic and from there caught most of the gang behind Britain’s biggest domestic burglary.

Who Stole Tamara Ecclestone’s Diamonds? is available on BBC iPlayer and will be broadcast on BBC Three at 9pm tonight

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