William Flynn, 36, targeted homes across Southend and London, taking diamonds, jewellery and designer watches in what a judge described as 'skillful and well planned' operationWilliam Flynn claimed to be a millionaire Kazakh oligarch looking for a house in one of Britain’s most expensive streets, inform.kz reports citing dailymail.co.uk.
So when William Flynn arrived at the £32million home of Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone in a chauffeur-driven Bentley, estate agents were only too happy to show him around – twice.
Despite refusing to remove his sunglasses and speaking in an accent likened to Sacha Baron Cohen’s comic character Borat, no one suspected the prospective housebuyer until ‘irreplaceable’ gems worth £450,000 were found to be missing.
Yesterday, as the conman was jailed for eight years for the theft, it emerged that he was a serial burglar who stole £803,140 worth of designer watches and jewellery in a spree across London and the Home Counties.
Described as ‘cocky and brazen’, Flynn, 36, cruised around in a stolen BMW X5 worth £70,000 booking viewings of houses on the market for more than £1million.
He would help himself to jewellery when estate agents turned their back and was caught only after he targeted the Belgravia home Petra shares with husband James Stunt and baby daughter Lavinia.
Calling himself Oleg Duchenko, Flynn was chauffeur-driven in a Bentley to the property on June 19. He made one visit before arranging a second viewing later that day.
While estate agents were showing him round the second time, Flynn asked to make a telephone call in private, said Joseph Abadoo, prosecuting.
The serial burglar posed as a Kazakh tycoon to steal a diamond Rolex and a pair of earrings from Formula One heiress Petra Stunt (formerly Ecclestone) in a £450,000 raid He was chauffeur driven to the property which he pretended he was interested in buying‘He was permitted to do so and enter the jewellery room on the second floor unaccompanied,’ said Mr Abadoo.
‘Following this the defendant indicated that he liked the property and would make an offer later that day. It was only the next day that it was noticed that the items were missing.’
The court was told that Flynn stole heart-shaped earrings worth £400,000 and a £50,000 diamond-encrusted Rolex watch. They have not been recovered.
The 25-year-old daughter of Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone – who now uses her married name Petra Stunt – was out with a friend during Flynn’s viewing of her home.
Mr Abadoo said the family had been left ‘traumatised’ by the incident and no longer wanted to stay in the house.
In a victim impact statement read to court, personal assistant Emebet Shefiran said: ‘My boss is very upset and distressed by the intrusion into her home.
‘The watch was of extremely sentimental value and was a gift from her husband on a special occasion – this can never be replaced.
‘The earrings were a very expensive and treasured item. The incident has had a devastating lasting impact on all concerned.’
The court heard that Flynn raided 35 properties while still on licence after being released early in August 2012 from a 42-month sentence for a series of thefts and burglaries. They included the theft of a 79-year-old woman’s handbag after he entered her home using fake ID.
On April 2 last year he stole two Cartier watches worth a combined £35,000 from a Grade II listed country house that was on sale for £2.5million in Rochford, Essex.
In her impact statement, homeowner Patricia Rout, said Flynn boasted to her housekeeper he was like a ‘kid in a sweetshop’.
He was arrested last August wearing a stolen £6,000 ring and driving a stolen £24,000 Land Rover with his four children in the back.
He told police he committed the burglaries because he was deep in debt with ticket touts after £50,000 of Premier League tickets were stolen from him.
The 25-year-old daughter of Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone ¿ who now uses her married name Petra Stunt ¿ was out with a friend during Flynn¿s viewing of her homeFlynn, from Barnet, north London, pleaded guilty to four burglaries and two charges of handling stolen goods. He confessed to a further 34 burglaries and showed officers round the scenes of his crimes.
Judge David Owen-Jones described him as a ‘professional burglar’. ‘In my judgment the offending is so serious and has so many aggravating features it goes outside the sentencing guidelines,’ he said.