Wealthy businessman James Stunt’s diamond ring ‘stolen from safe by security guard’

Security guard Justinas Ivaskevicius, 34, is accused of stealing the 16.18-carat jewel from Mr Stunt’s Belgravia mews property in December 2017.   It is said he used an alias to try to sell the diamond ring to a jewellery dealer in Antwerp, Belgium.   Prosecutor Martyn Bowyer told Southwark crown court today Mr Stunt is “a very wealthy individual” who employed a team of support staff including a 24-hour security team.

“Downstairs in the house, just off from the kitchen, was an office in which Mr Stunt had a safe in which he kept his valuables under lock and key”, he said.   The key to the safe was kept in the glove compartment of Mr Stunt’s Rolls-Royce, which had a personalised numberplate and was parked outside the luxury home, while the car keys were in a basket in the kitchen.  

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James Stunt

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Two butlers and three night security guards, including Ivaskevicius, were on duty on December 13, 2017, when Mr Stunt was entertaining a female guest, the court heard.   The businessman’s head of security then found the safe empty when he later arrived at the home, with items stolen said to include the GBP500,000 diamond ring.  

Mr Stunt had bought the gem for GBP374,000 from Bond Street jewellers Mossaieff on November 30 2017, the court heard. Mr Bowyer told jurors the evidence they hear may not be entirely consistent on the precise sequence of events and who knew about the safe key, adding that they might be asked to consider whether the diamond was stolen at all and, if it was, by whom. “I make it clear from the outset that the Crown’s case is that the diamond was stolen and, having heard all the evidence, you will be quite sure of that fact,” he said.

“You will be equally as sure that this defendant was involved in that theft.” The alleged theft happened just months after Mr Stunt, 38, split from Petra Ecclestone – daughter of former Formula One tycoon Bernie – in an acrimonious divorce after six years of marriage. The prosecutor warned that details of Mr Stunt’s lifestyle may be explored during the trial.  

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Petra Ecclestone

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“He is certainly an individual who has attracted a degree of publicity as result of his former marriage to Petra Ecclestone, one of the daughters of Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One supremo”, said Mr Bowyer.

“The prosecution is not interested in that and it forms no part of our case. It is simply a fact.” The court heard that the police investigation into the diamond theft also revealed that Ivaskevicius was involved in a cannabis farm, the possession of criminal cash, handling stolen cheques and the use of a number of false identities.

Ivaskevicius, from Cambridge, denies theft, two counts of possessing criminal property, possessing an identity document with improper intention, producing a class B drug and four counts of handling stolen goods.  

The trial continues.  

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