Thursday, 13 November 2014

Housekeeper's £13,000 Grab At Employers' Apartment

A housekeeper, who worked for a couple at their exclusive mansion block, pinched £13,000 in cash, jewellery and other valuables - forcing her victims to buy back their own property from a local pawnbroker.

Raquel Villanueva, 47, of Leslie Road, Leytonstone pleaded guilty to theft from her employer, Nicholas True, between April 1and October 16 at Bryanston Court, George Street, Bayswater.

Prosecutor Mr. Oliver Schneider-Sikorsky told Hammersmith Magistrates Court yesterday: "Mr. True's wife noticed a large amount of jewellery was missing from the bedroom and other items were missing and there were no signs of a break-in.

"Their Transport For London Oyster card was also being used by somebody and had been topped-up in Leytonstone, where the defendant lives."

The couple's Harrods card also had a mystery £9,500 spent on it, but Villanueva denied knowing anything about this.

However, she did admit taking cash and jewellery, including Mr. True's expensive lighter, which he did not even know was missing.

"She admitted taking cash and taking a holdall and using both their Oyster cards and said she was broke and stressed.

"She said she had sold the property at a pawn shop and had receipts at home.

In her purse Mr. True found £1,000 cash and a £500 Selfridges gift card, along with his business card and a Harrods rewards points card.

Villanueva was taken by mini-cab to her home, where she tried to hide one of the receipts, but handed over the lighter she had stolen.

At an Earl's Court pawn shop Mr. True had to pay £2,850 to recover his own items and then called the police, who arrested first-time offender Villanueva.

Her lawyer told the court: "She's pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and this is clearly a serious breach of trust. She's deeply remorseful and it is difficult to ascertain the reason she did what she did."

The magistrates bailed Villanueva to appear at Southwark Crown Court for sentencing, announcing: "This was a breach of a high degree of trust and the thefts took place over a sustained period."

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