An alleged escort accused of being the “matriarch” behind a £25m celebrity burglary conspiracy told a detective he had “lovely blue eyes” during questioning, a court has heard.
Maria Mester allegedly made the comments after she was arrested by police at Stansted Airport upon her arrival back in the UK in January 2020 on suspicion of her involvement in the largest domestic burglary plot in British history.
Isleworth Crown Court heard Mester, 47, was detained while wearing a pair of £6,000 earrings allegedly stolen during a raid on the Kensington home of socialite Tamara Ecclestone.
Mester, her son Emil Bogdan Savastru, 30, her childhood friend Sorin Marcovici, 53, and Alexandru Stan, 49, all deny conspiring to burgle three homes in west London during a two-week spree last December.
The quartet are not on trial for carrying out the raids themselves, which also included thefts of cash, property and jewellery from the homes of Chelsea FC manager Frank Lampard and his television presenter wife Christine Lampard, and of the late Leicester City FC chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
Four men accused of being the burglars cannot be named for legal reasons.
The court heard how Mester denied being part of the plot following her arrest, but repeatedly asked for a cigarette.
She told Detective Constable Glen Peach: “I know you want the big people, I don’t have anything to do with it.”
Asked why she was wearing stolen earrings, Mester replied: “What lovely blue eyes you have.
“Let me smoke a cigarette, blue eyes.”
The detective thanked the suspect for the compliment, before questioning Mester about her alleged involvement.
But Mester continued to ask to be able to smoke, including when told she and her son faced a lengthy prison term if convicted.
She said: “No no no. Please, one cigarette.”
She said: “I’ve never been in that (Tamara Ecclestone’s) house, I’ve never stolen.”
On Monday, jurors heard how Mester told police she had “never stolen in my life – not even a chicken”, when she was arrested.
She was previously described by her lawyer as a “call girl” who was paid thousands of euros for a week’s work in London.
Prosecutors say Mester and her three co-defendants were all involved as members of the alleged burglars’ “supporting cast”, by arranging transport, accommodation and other assistance at various times, before helping launder the proceeds.
All four deny the charges.
The trial continues.