Hotel worker accused of ‘Oceans-Eleven style’ heist on Mayfair jewellers tells court she knew nothing of plot to steal £4m of diamonds by swapping them for pebbles
- Georgeta Danila, 52, accused of being part of heist at Mayfair jewellers Boodles
- Con artist Lulu Lakatos allegedly visited the store posing as a gemologist in 2016
- Accused of using sleight of hand to swap diamonds for pebbles during the heist
- Danila went into some pub toilets after Lakatos with some luggage on day of raid
- Women took separate taxis to station, before boarding the Eurostar, court heard
A hotel worker accused of being involved in an ‘Oceans-Eleven-style’ £4.2million diamond heist at a Mayfair jeweller has today insisted she knew nothing about the plan.
Georgeta Danila, 52, is accused of being part of a team of criminals who tricked staff into handing over the gems at family-owned jewellers Boodles in New Bond Street in 2016.
The high-end store was allegedly visited by con artist Lulu Lakatos, who posed as a gemologist called Anna, carrying a bag containing pebbles in their own boxes.
She is accused of using sleight of hand to swap the diamonds for the worthless stones while staff were distracted, jurors have heard.
Lakatos is still being extradited while accomplices Mickael Jovanovic and Christophe Stankovic had already pleaded guilty to the conspiracy.
Danila is said to have taken a taxi to Victoria train station from a hotel on the morning of the raid.
Georgeta Danila, 52, is accused of being part of a team of criminals who tricked staff into handing over diamonds at family-owned jewellers Boodles (pictured) in New Bond Street in 2016
CCTV played in court showed both women making their way into the Willow Walk pub near the station.
Danila stayed with their luggage as Lakatos made her way to Boodles in New Bond Street.
When Lakatos returned to the pub a couple of hours later she headed straight into the toilets, followed by Danila with luggage in tow, the court heard.
Danila emerged dressed in a different outfit and both women took separate taxis to King’s Cross St Pancras station, before boarding the Eurostar.
Susannah Stevens, prosecuting, asked Danila: ‘You deliberately changed what you looked like so that it would be more difficult for police to follow you.’
‘This is not true,’ replied Danila.
Ms Stevens said: ‘You take off the jacket that you’re wearing. I also suggest that you take off your hat, change your scarf and put on a different coat.’
Danila said: ‘I put another coat on because I was cold.’
Pointing at the CCTV footage the prosecutor asked: ‘Why are you taking off the cardigan jacket that you’re wearing?’
‘Because this one was thicker for me,’ replied Danila.
The high-end store was allegedly visited by con artist Lulu Lakatos, who posed as a gemologist called Anna, carrying a bag containing pebbles in their own boxes, Southwark Crown Court (pictured) heard
Ms Stevens said: ‘You haven’t really spoken properly to Lulu Lakatos at this stage.
‘From what we’re watching, you are changing what you look like so you’d look different to how you looked in the morning when you walked across Victoria Station.’
Danila replied: ‘I didn’t have anything like this in my head.’
The barrister said: ‘The reason you went a different way to Lulu Lakatos is again to make it difficult for police.’
Danila said: ‘This is what you wish to say but I was not thinking about that.’
Ms Stevens said: ‘It’s all part of your deliberate, well thought out plan to make it difficult for police to know where you go, isn’t it?’
Danila replied: ‘This is not true, this is how you wish to say it. I was just getting a taxi to go back to Paris.’
The Romanian told jurors she believed she was on a ‘business trip’ in London but must have been ‘used’ by Lakatos who told her to wait in the Willow Walk pub.
The court has heard gang members were caught on camera pretending to window shop at nearby luxury stores while Lakatos, posing as ‘Anna’ headed towards Boodles.
It was not until the next day when employees at Boodles realised they had been duped.
But by then ‘every person involved in the conspiracy’ had left left the country, the court has heard.
Police likened the sophisticated raid to the daring thefts portrayed in the Ocean’s Eleven movie franchise, starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
Detectives from the Met Police’s Flying Squad charged Danila with conspiracy to steal after she was extradited to the UK from France in July.
Danila, assisted in court by a Romanian interpreter, denies conspiracy to steal.
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