James Stunt talks ‘traumatic’ split from Petra Ecclestone amid £500k diamond theft
James Stunt arrives at Southwark Crown Court (left) and poses with his ex-wife Petra Ecclestone (right) (Image: PA, Getty)
James Stunt was still recovering from his 'traumatic' divorce from Petra Ecclestone when a £500,000 diamond was allegedly stolen from his home, a court heard.
The gold dealer, 38, gave his testimony at Southwark Crown court on Thursday where Justinas Ivaskevicius is on trial accused of stealing a 16.18-carat fancy yellow diamond from a safe in Stunt's substantial Belgravia mews home in December 2017.
Ivaskevicius, 34, who was working as Stunt's security guard at the time, denies theft, two counts of possessing criminal property, carrying a British driving licence with improper intention and producing a controlled drug, namely cannabis and four counts of handling stolen goods.
Stunt and Ecclestone divorced in 2017 and he had only been living at the £10million property for a few weeks after the split, which he also called "dramatic", when the alleged theft occurred.
He told the court: "It was a divorce, it was very dramatic, I had kind of been tried by the media, it was very traumatic."
James Stunt arrives at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday
James Stunt and his ex-wife Petra Ecclestone
(Image: Getty Images)
Jurors were told how Stunt was only using the top floor of the luxury home, with many rooms occupied by friends and staff, and did not even know where the safe was kept.
"If I needed the contents, not to be cavalier, but they were brought to me," said Mr Stunt.
He said he was "in the dark" about any security processes in place, choosing to delegate them to trusted staff.
Stunt told the court that as soon as he was informed of the theft the next morning, he looked inside the safe for the first time and found it had been emptied, apart from a single screw.
His late brother's watch, presents from his children and his wedding ring were also taken from the safe.
"There was just a screw. Maybe that is a signal 'you are screwed'," he said.
Stunt sticks a thumbs up for photographers outside Southwark Crown Court
"I didn't want to touch it, I wanted to make sure my DNA was not inside my safe."
He added: "Honestly I can't remember the screw. I just thought 'my effing god. Holy s**t f**k.'
"I'm sorry I have a foul mouth. I was in shock."
Stunt said today was the first time he had ever seen the key to the safe, and that he did not even have a key to his own house.
Martin Bowyer, prosecuting, also showed a picture to the jury of a key being kept in a box inside a Rolls Royce glovebox.
Stunt said: "I had no idea whether they kept it. I didn't think anybody could be that stupid. I was in the dark about that."
When shown pictures of a Rolls Royce and Range Rover parked in front of his property, Mr Stunt, who described himself as "very wealthy" confirmed they were his.
Stunt gave his testimony at Southwark Crown court on Thursday
"I hate to sound ostentatious, it is very crass, normally it would be a Lamborghi parked outside there," he said.
"It is the only car I would drive myself."
He was unable to recall the names of most of his 10-15 security guards, apart from head of security Gabriel Lekwara, who handled all hiring decisions.
The only people who had access to the safe, Stunt said, were Mr Lekwara and senior 'Stunt Co' vice-president Alex Tulloch.
Mr Tulloch had moved in as "some sort of wet nurse" during a "very difficult period" of Stunt's life, the court heard.
The contents of the safe, alongside the diamond, included other gems Stunt said he bought for his children and his ex-wife's engagement ring.
"I bought diamonds. Some of them were gifted to me, I won't say by who in court but it was a deceased member of the royal family," he added.
The former couple divorced in 2017
(Image: Getty Images)
"There was my wife's engagement ring, which I didn't take from her, it was thrown to me."
The yellow diamond Ivaskevicius is accused of stealing was bought by Mr Stunt from Bond Street jewellers Mossaieff.
He explained that he paid £374,090 rather than the £515,000 asking price as he was given a discount due to the sheer volume of gems he was expected to buy.
In addition, Stunt kept six solid bars of gold in the safe at all times, as he "doesn't trust" banks.
"I always wanted to keep that amount in case the apocalypse happened," he added.
Stunt confirmed that private bank chequebooks allegedly found in the former security guard's address in fact belonged to him.
He had been living in the home for a few weeks when the alleged theft occurred and was still recovering from his split from Petra
(Image: Alan Davidson)
Dianne Buswell and Joe Sugg brush off Max George drama as they cuddle on romantic walk
U2's Bono unwittingly changed the sound to iconic Joy Division song before fame
The cheque books were normally kept in his bedside drawer rather than the safe because of how often he used them.
Martin Bowyer, prosecuting, has said six months after the raid, on May 10 2018, the diamond, "bearing the price tag of £550,000" turned up at the Gemological Institute of America in New York.
He said Ivaskevicius was involved in the theft of that diamond and "during the course of the police investigation into the theft other criminality of this defendant was uncovered.
"Searches of addresses linked to him demonstrate his involvement in a cannabis farm, the possession of a significant quantity of cash representing his proceeds of crime, in handling a quantity of stolen cheques and the use of a number of false identities,' said Mr Bowyer.
After arresting Ivaskevicious at his home in Fallowfield, Cambridge in May, Flying Squad detectives found £50,000 and £30,000 in cash, said to be proceeds of criminal activity.
British-Lithuanian Ivaskevicius denies the charges brought against him.
The trial continues.