Former security guard found not guilty of James Stunt diamond theft

PA

A former security guard has been cleared of stealing a diamond worth more than half a million pounds from the ex-husband of Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone.

Justinas Ivaskevicius, 34, was found not guilty of the theft of a 16.18-carat fancy yellow diamond ring from gold dealer James Stunt’s Belgravia property in December 2017 while working there.

The gem, valued at £515,000, was part of the haul said to have been taken during a raid on the luxury central London home three years ago.

Despite being cleared of the theft, Ivaskevicius was found guilty by a Southwark Crown Court jury of two counts of possessing criminal property and four counts of handling stolen goods, relating to cash found at his home by police.

He was also acquitted of producing Class B drugs and possessing an identity document with improper intention.

Mr Stunt appeared in the witness box during the three-week trial and said other more valuable items were also taken from his safe during the raid.

James Stunt
James Stunt

He told jurors: “I lost diamonds, some gifted to me. I’m not going to say from who in this court, because it was a deceased member of the royal family.”

He also said he lost a Cartier engagement ring, which he said he gave to his ex-wife.

“She was rather rich, she threw it in my face,” he said.

Mr Stunt was alerted to the alleged theft on the morning of December 14 2017 and told the court: “The whole thing had been cleaned out. There was literally not a receipt left.

“They took both my passports – my diplomatic and citizen ones.”

Mr Stunt’s former head of security, who discovered the theft, also gave evidence to the jury.

Gabriel Lekwara told the court “there was nothing in there” when he opened the safe on December 14 2017.

Jurors were shown pictures of the safe, completely empty, apart from a screw sitting at the back.

Mr Lekwara told the court he quit his role just days later, after Mr Stunt accused him of stealing.

Mr Stunt had split from Ms Ecclestone – daughter of former F1 tycoon Bernie – just months earlier, and the belongings were not covered by insurance at the time of the incident.

Mr Ivaskevicius, of Cambridgeshire, is due to be sentenced on January 5.

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