The copycat con, almost identical to an audacious jewellery heist carried out by Jimmy Tippett, 46, several years ago triggered the designer’s, mental health collapse.
Tippett - author of ‘Kill or be Killed’ and ‘Born Gangster’ - is the son of late bare-knuckle boxer Jimmy Tippett Snr. aka ‘The Guv’nor of Lewisham’.
Tippett Jnr. was born into a criminal aristocracy and friends of his family included gangland A-listers Ron and Reggie Kray and ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser.
“You are a practiced and experienced fraudster, who exploits the weaknesses of others for your own selfish rewards,” Blackfriars Crown Court Judge Deva Pillay told him.
“Despite the eloquent mitigation advanced on your behalf I’m afraid the time has come for the public to receive a respite from your actions.”
Now living in Arundel Place, Brighton he pleaded guilty to stealing the diamond ring from 23 year-old designer Tatiana Sieff on March 14, last year during an elaborate con that involved a Hatton Garden jewellers, a trip to the East End and finally a swish Mayfair casino.
He asked the court to defer sentence for six months so he can secure two more book advances, totalling £20,000, and negotiate a film rights payment so he can pay compensation.
However, Judge Pillay announced: “That is not going to happen. It is custody today.”
The judge also wants to ensure Tatiana is paid £10,032 compensation by Tippett - the raw cost of the diamonds she used.
Prosecutor Mr. Shub Banerjee told the court the ring has a Bond Street retail value of £40-50,000, but Tatiana’s mother, Joanne Stoller, had contacted Tippett on facebook to secure a knock-down £14,000 sale.
She knew Tippett’s late father and believed the defendant may have Hatton Garden contacts who would buy the ring.
The young designer had invested £7,632 of her own money into a large emerald-cut diamond, plus £2,400 on ten smaller surrounding diamonds on top of her time and skill designing and manufacturing the ring.
Her mother met Tippett and an unknown accomplice driving a VW in Baker Street and the trio travelled to Hatton Garden - the centre of London’s jewellery trade.
‘They arrived and the defendant got out of the car and went into a nearby jewellers and whilst the defendant was in the jewellers Mrs Stoller remained in the car with the other man.
“The defendant returned to the car in ten minutes and said they needed to go to Bethnal Green Road to get the money and after another ten minutes there he said the money was being couriered to the Palm Beach Casino, Mayfair,” said the prosecutor.
Tippett then made an excuse that he needed to use the lavatory and told Mrs Stoller he would meet her in the May Fair Hotel bar with the money.
“She called him and he said he was signing for the money and twenty minutes later she called him again and he said he was counting the money.
“That was the last time she spoke to him and further calls went to voicemail. She went into the Palm Beach Casino and asked the staff if anybody had been in and Mrs Stoller felt that she had been blocked by the defendant on facebook.”
Tippett was arrested in Brighton on June 9 and taken to Islington Police Station, where he tried to lie his way out of trouble. “He said he had gone into the jewellers to buy a watch.”
In her victim impact statement Tatiana said: “After the theft my mood plummeted, I stopped sleeping, I had terrifying nightmares of other possessions being stolen.”
She was admitted to the private Nightingale psychiatric hospital on May 23, where she remained until August 19 and then received five-day a week out-patient care.
Tatiana was prescribed anti-depressants and was diagnosed with OCD, PTSD, panic disorder, agoraphobia, depression and psychosis.
“This took over my whole existence, I heard voices in my head and had suicidal ideas,” she said. “I feel I’ve lost six months of my life in mental health as a reaction to the crime.”
She stopped seeing family and friends, including her beloved grandmother. “I am not in the right frame of mind.”
Tatiana said she was left with a “£11,500 hole in my pocket” adding: “It was all the funds I had invested into my little business.
“Psychologically I have not been able to work and the agoraphobia prevents me seeing clients.”
The court heard Tippett had a conviction for theft and assault in 1990; received six months for theft in 1993; a suspended sentence for burglary and handling three years later; twelve months for theft in 1997; eight months for theft in 1999; 33 months for affray and GBH in 2005 and 27 months for a similar jewellery scam in 2013.
He has paid the full £30,450 compensation in that case after stealing jewellery from a woman dealer during a meeting at the Bromley Court Hotel in August, 2012.
“The circumstances are remarkably similar,” said Mr. Banerjee. Tippett claimed he was buying expensive pieces on behalf of a Saudi businessman, who wanted to treat his nieces.
“She had with her several hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of jewellery and the defendant asked to take two-hundred thousand pounds worth outside to photograph it in better light and he did not return.”
Tippett’s lawyer Mr. Thomas Quinton told the court: “He has some small celebrity from the book that he’s published in regard to his background.
“He identifies with his father very strongly, they share the same name.
“ His father’s background in boxing and connections with the Kray brothers meant he grew up with a sense of growing up in a gangsters world.
“In his teens and twenties he was definitely embarking on a career as a criminal. The world in which he grew up in had certainly left its mark on him.”
Tippett ended up living in Kingston-upon-Hull under the witness protection programme after giving prosecution evidence at a 2006 murder trial.
His latest publication of those experiences had helped Tippett keep out of crime. “That book (Born Gangster) was published in 2014 and through successful sales of that book he’s been able to develop the prerequisites to develop film rights and two more books.
“He is, to use the vernacular, a complete ‘coke head’. The way he talks, he’s all over the place, his life spirals out of control.
“He got back on cocaine and the trigger for that was the death of his father in 2016, a man who was a celebrity because of his boxing and had a rather unfortunate connection with the Krays, an identity the defendant has grown up with.
“He is keen to use his own success through his books and he film rights to repay the victim in this case.”
After his client was jailed Mr. Quinton told the court: “The fact he is in prison means he will not be able to bring off the deals and will not be able to pay.
“He finds it impossible to say because he has no assets and has no job. Being in prison is going to make compensation impossible to pay.”