A Romanian escort accused of assisting in the £25million raid on Tamara Ecclestone’s mansion wept in court today as she told jurors she thought the alleged burglar was a ‘sweet client’ who was there ‘for business’.
Maria Mester, 47, is accused of being one of the ‘support team’ for the burglars who had travelled from Italy to break into celebrities’ homes last December.
Mester and her barman son Emile-Bogdan Savastru, 30, security worker Sorin Marcovici, 53, and concierge Alexandru Stan, 49, all deny involvement in the raids.
The Romanian sex worker is said to have been ‘inseparable’ from the alleged burglars after flying to London from Milan on December 7 of last year.
She and Savastru were filmed on CCTV with the alleged raiders in the days before and after the burglary at the home of F1 heiress Ms Ecclestone.
Isleworth Crown Court has heard she was arrested at Stansted Airport wearing a pair of stolen earrings on January 31.
She also posted a photograph of herself wearing one of the stolen necklaces on Facebook on 1 January, jurors have heard.
Today Mester, of no fixed address, burst into tears as she entered the dock in Isleworth Crown Court wearing a grey jacket and jeans.
Addressing Judge Martin Edmunds, she said: ‘Can I thank you My Lord, that you made it a possibility after nine months for someone to listen to me.’
Maria Mester, 47, is accused of being one of the ‘support team’ for the burglars who had travelled from Italy to break into the celebrities’ homes last December. Pictured, Mester wearing a rainbow coloured gold necklace allegedly stolen from Tamara Ecclestone
Burglars stole jewellery from Tamara Ecclestone, pictured with husband Jay Rutland
Mester told jurors she met two alleged burglars ‘four or five years’ ago in a Milan club, and continued seeing one of them three or four times a year as an escort.
She had never seen two of the other four alleged burglars until her trip to London.
‘On that day I came because the alleged burglar asked me to come and spend a week with him, I knew that he was a sweet client.
‘I thought “why not?” I knew that my son Bogdan was supposed to come back from Japan and I would kill two birds with one stone.
‘He said that he came here for business and if I would come to be with him and keep him company for one week.
‘He would pay me about four to six thousand euros, it depended.
‘If he would go shopping he would buy me something or if I told him that I see something which I like he would give me money to buy it.
‘He would show up, he would disappear.’
The heist at Ms Ecclestone’s house (above) took place on ‘Billionaire’s Row’ in Kensington
Mester and her son Emile-Bogdan Savastru, 30, were filmed on CCTV with the alleged raiders in the days before and after the Ecclestone raid at her £70million mansion near Hyde Park
She said she planned to stay in London for a week, seeing escort friends she occasionally worked with and her son Bogdan Savastru in the last day and half.
Mester said she married Savastru’s father Gabriel aged 17 or 18. She moved to Milan in 1997 for a ‘better life’ after the revolution and began working in a bar.
She said: ‘Because communism fell in our country, after the revolution everybody was dreaming for a better life.
‘I was dreaming of having a Ferrari and Lamborghini and a better lifestyle.’
She wept as she added: ‘After being 30 I started working in a nightclub which had two different things, in the lap dancing I was dancing and in the night club I was a paid escort.’
Jurors were shown photos she posted on escort websites to advertise her services.
She said: ‘They are international sites, sites in one country.
Mester denies conspiracy to commit burglary and concealing criminal property
Mester was shown CCTV images allegedly showing her being helped by one of the alleged burglars at St Mary’s Cray station. Pictured: Security gates outside Ecclestone’s home
‘For meetings between men and women, the man is searching for a woman for adventures not a woman for his life.’
She is accused of bringing in her son Savastru to help organise the alleged burglars’ stay in London.
Savastru was caught in possession of a Tag Heuer watch and Louis Vuitton bag, similar to one taken in the raid, and was planning to board a flight to Japan, it is claimed.
On December 17, she was filmed on a luxury goods spending spree at Harrods with a sister of one of the alleged burglars.
Three days before the Ecclestone burglary the suspects had made off with jewellery worth Euro 600,000 and Euro 400,000 in cash, from the Knightsbridge home of late Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha after smashing one of his safes with hammers on 10 December, the court has heard.
The burglars had made off with £60,000 worth of valuables from the Chelsea home Frank Lampard shares with television presenter Christine Lampard on December 1.
Mester, of no fixed address, denies three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary and concealing criminal property.
Savastru, of Bethnal Green, denies two counts of conspiracy to burgle and attempting to remove criminal property.
Marcovici, of Romford, and Stan, of Harrow, deny conspiracy to burgle.
The trial continues.