I'm scared to leave my daughter alone after gang raided my home in £26m celeb sting, says F1 heiress Tamara Ecclestone

SOCIALITE Tamara Ecclestone has vowed to never leave her daughter home alone again after their mansion was ransacked in Britain's biggest ever burglary spree.

The F1 heiress' home in Kensington was raided by a criminal gang, who in total stole £26million worth of cash and jewellery from celebrity houses in a matter of days.

Jugoslav Jovanovic, 24, and expert jewel thieves Alessandro Maltese, 45, known as the "Pink Panther", and 44-year-old Alessandro Donati -also targeted the west London home of former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and his wife Christine, and a Knightsbridge property owned by the deceased Leicester City football club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

All three admitted conspiracy to burgle the properties earlier this year at Isleworth Crown Court.

Ms Ecclestone, 37, was on a skiing holiday with her husband Jay Rutland and daughter at the time of the raid on December 13, 2019.

Her home in Kensington Palace Gardens was so huge that security staff did not even notice the thieves breaking in through the back garden.

The burglaries left the gang with "money to burn" and they squandered a fortune celebrating their success in the West End's upmarket shops and restaurants.

Ms Ecclestone has said the raid has left her feeling "violated".

In a victim impact statement read out for the first time today, she said: "It's been really awful. I'm so scared I will not leave my daughter alone in the house at night, because I just feel like the people I am meant to trust, I don't, I'm not sure that I can trust anyone."

Ms Ecclestone, the daughter of ex-Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, told how she even now fears going into her own home.

"An example recently, was that Jay was in the bedroom, I could see a shadow of feet near me while I was bathing my daughter and I freaked out," she said.

"I feel like [my daughter] is picking up my vibe a little bit now, she won't even go to the toilet without [being] like mummy come with me. And, she talks about burglars now as well, which is really really hard and that's the worst part trying to pretend to her nothing actually did happen, and to try to make her feel the house is a safe space.

"Besides the stuff that's gone missing which some of it has made me really sad, because it's like stuff my mum and dad got me, my mum got me a wedding present.

"A lot of it was really personal, I wanted to give some of the items to my daughter one day but aside from that it has been really hard to try and carry on as normal."

"It's strange knowing that there were people, like on top of the jewellery cabinet where there were photos of my daughter and to know they touched that stuff and been in there, makes me feel really kind of like violated."

She said she is now "obsessing over security" with gates with barbed wire and spikes, and she was thinking of moving to an apartment.


"It's not really how I want to live my life," she added.

Her husband Mr Rutland added: "I feel a whole combination of emotions, anger that they have stolen from us, fear that they could come back and sadness that sentimental pieces of jewellery which were gifts at our wedding or at the birth of our daughter were stolen that cannot be replaced.

"Whilst my wife and I continue to support one another it is incredibly difficult for me to see how much it has affected her and how nervous she has become."

The three gang members – who flew into the UK to carry out the plans and acted as a disciplined team – have now been jailed

Italian nationals Jugoslav Jovanovic, 24, Alessandro Maltese, 45, and Alessandro Donati, 44, were behind three raids in west London over just 13 days in December 2019.

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.

All three 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 last year, and one count of attempting to convert criminal property.

He was jailed for 11 years by Judge Martin Edmunds QC at Isleworth Crown Court on Monday, while Maltese and Donati were each sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison.

The men, who were brought to court under armed police guard as a helicopter flew overhead, will return to Italy to serve their sentences following proceeds of crime proceedings in the UK.


In court, the judge said the gang had chosen their targets because of the "celebrity of their occupiers", adding: "The distress caused by the burglary of a home of householders who may be well-known or wealthy is no less than that caused to those in different circumstances.

"The acute distress caused to children, or the fear for the safety of children, is a particular feature.

"There have been life-changing effects on the victim's own sense of safety."

A fourth member of the gang, Daniel Vukovic, 44, believed to be a Serbian national who uses a string of aliases, fled to the capital Belgrade, where he is still thought to be following a failed extradition bid.

Prosecutor Timothy Cray QC said he was "the prime mover in organising the team in the UK" which "planned and executed the highest value burglaries that have ever come to light" in the country.

Only a handful of items have been recovered with the rest of the £26 million 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.

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 £1 million 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 £25 million burglary, 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.

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