Saturday, 13 December 2014

Cleaner Snatched Dying Socialite Boss's £23K Designer Ring

Jailed: Marzanna Szysz
A cleaner, who exploited her wealthy socialite employer's terminal cancer to steal a £23,000 designer gold ring, which she sold at an auction years later, has been jailed for nine months.

Polish-born Marzanna Szysz, 42, was employed by the Harrison family at their £4.25m six-bedroom Chelsea townhouse, where she snatched the Elizabeth Gage-designed piece, selling it eight years later for £3,000.

Former actress, model and writer Bridget Harrison died aged sixty-seven on February 8, 2011 after a twelve-year fight against breast cancer and was well-known for her charitable work, particularly in relation to the NSPCC for whom she'd organise functions and balls.

She studied at the Sorbonne, Paris and London's Trinity College of Music, appeared in two films directed by Italian Federico Fellini and was employed by the Aga Khan to establish and run an exclusive yacht club in Sardinia.

She married wealthy Cumbria businessman Norman Harrison, 80, and had three daughters, spending most of her time at the family's Penrith estate and living at the London address, where Szysz was employed, approximately seven days every month.

Szysz, of Glebe Way, Hanworth, Feltham was convicted by an Isleworth Crown Court jury of stealing the ring at 39 Cadogan Street on June 13, 2005, dismissing her claims it was a gift from the late Mrs Harrison.

Harrison's Home
"It's undoubtedly a breach of trust, involving a high-value item, against a woman this defendant knew had cancer and the defendant took advantage of that situation," announced Judge Douglas Moore.

"I am not sympathetic at all, this was theft in breach of trust. It was a wealthy household and it would have been as plain as a pikestaff to the defendant that this was not a woman who wore cheap jewellery.

"It was demonstrably of a high value."

The court heard Mrs Harrison, who once acted alongside a young Clint Eastwood and in 2004 was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Cumbria, was a friend of award-winning designer Elizabeth Gage, who has an appointment-only boutique off Sloane Street.

Luxury: Dining & Living Room
As well as buying items of her designer jewellery Mrs Harrison, who modelled while living in Rome and wrote for Italian fashion magazines, would also be loaned pieces for events, with the Harrison family chauffeur collecting them.

He also collected jewellery Mrs Harrison had sent to the store for cleaning and it was after returning to the townhouse, which has been in the Harrison family for thirty years, after one such trip, the ring went missing.

Elizabeth Gage's Store
It was not seen again until bought by a savvy buyer at Chiswick Auctions on April 5, last year, who took it to Elizabeth Gage for authentication, prompting the police investigation.

Szysz's husband had placed it in the auction and when quizzed by officers the defendant claimed it was given to her as a gift from Mrs Harrison in 2009, but was too big for her.

She then decided to sell it to fund renovations to her home.

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