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James Stunt’s security guard, 34, stole £500,000 diamond ring from safe, court hears

A £500,000 diamond ring was stolen from gold dealer James Stunt’s safe after the key was left in his Rolls-Royce, a court has heard.

The alleged theft in December 2017 came just months after Mr Stunt, 38, split from Petra Ecclestone in an acrimonious divorce after six years of marriage.

Justinas Ivaskevicius, 34, is accused of stealing the 16.18-carat yellow diamond from Mr Stunt’s Belgravia mews property, where he was working as a security guard.

Prosecutor Martyn Bowyer, addressing Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday, described Mr Stunt as ‘a very wealthy individual’.

He added: ‘He dealt, among other things, in gold and diamonds and employed a number of members of 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.’

The alleged theft in December 2017 came just months after Mr Stunt (pictured in 2018), 38, split from Petra Ecclestone in an acrimonious divorce after six years of marriage

The alleged theft in December 2017 came just months after Mr Stunt (pictured in 2018), 38, split from Petra Ecclestone in an acrimonious divorce after six years of marriage

The jury heard Mr Stunt’s friend Alex Tulloch, who was senior vice president of gold dealing firm Stunt & Co, and Mr Stunt’s head of security Gabriel Lekwara had access to the safe key.

They were the only three who knew it was kept in a box in the glove compartment of Mr Stunt’s Rolls-Royce.

The car, which had a personalised number plate, was left parked, locked and secured outside his home, Mr Bowyer said.

The prosecutor told the court the key to the Rolls-Royce was kept in a basket in the kitchen along with keys to Mr Stunt’s other vehicles.

Mr Bowyer said Mr Stunt was at home with a female guest on the night of December 13, 2017, along with his two butlers and three night security guards, including Ivaskevicius, who is from Lithuania.

The court heard Ivaskevicius told colleagues he had searched butler John Gilmour before he left the property at around 5am the next day to fly to Amsterdam.

Mr Lekwara found the safe empty when he arrived later that morning, with items stolen including a diamond worth £500,000 when it was authenticated at the Gemilogical Institute of America (GIA) on May 10 2018.

Mr Stunt had bought the gem as a diamond ring for £374,000 from Bond Street jewellers Mossaieff on November 30 2017, the court heard.

Justinas Ivaskevicius, 34, is accused of stealing the 16.18-carat yellow diamond from Mr Stunt's Belgravia mews property (pictured), where he was working as a security guard

Justinas Ivaskevicius, 34, is accused of stealing the 16.18-carat yellow diamond from Mr Stunt’s Belgravia mews property (pictured), where he was working as a security guard

Prosecutors say Ivaskevicius, posing as ‘Sebastian Thomasz Kowal’, tried to sell the diamond to a jewellery dealer in Antwerp, Belgium, before it was sent to the GIA.

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.

He added they might be asked to consider whether the diamond was stolen at all and, if it was, by whom.

He continued: ‘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.

‘Further… you will be equally as sure that this defendant was involved in that theft. Inevitably, the lifestyle of Mr Stunt may be explored before you.

‘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.

‘The prosecution is not interested in that and it forms no part of our case. It is simply a fact.’

The court heard the police investigation into the diamond theft revealed Ivaskevicius was involved in a cannabis farm.

It also found he was in the possession of criminal cash, handling stolen cheques and the use of a number of false identities.

Ivaskevicius, of 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.

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