Sleight-of-hand thief, 60, is found GUILTY of £4.2m Ocean’s Eleven-style heist


This is the moment a sixty-year-old woman swiped £4.2million worth of jewels under the noses of London society jeweller Boodles – as she was today jailed for five-and-a-half years for her role in the Ocean’s Eleven-style heist. 

Lulu Lakatos had posed as a gemmologist called ‘Anna’ to arrange an inspection of the seven diamond-studded rings with Boodles boss Nicholas Wainwright –  supposedly to value them for wealthy Russian clients.

At the crucial moment she arranged for a telephone call to take Mr Wainwright away and put a padlocked purse containing the diamonds into her handbag in front of another member of staff, as shown by the store’s CCTV. 

Diamond expert Emma Barton immediately challenged her, at which point the Romanian pulled off an astonishing sleight of hand, producing a precise replica of the bag weighed down with pebbles before handing it over. 

Ms Barton raised suspicions but the gems – believed to have been concealed in a hidden compartment – were not found in the Lakatos’ handbag, as she used the pretence of poor English to suggest a misunderstanding. 

She left the shop where four gang members were waiting for her before switching the gems to the handbag of an unknown woman. She and the international gang of criminals fled the UK for France in less than three hours.

Prosecutor Oliver Mosley said: ‘This was a conspiracy of the highest sophistication. It is believed to be the highest value individual theft offence of this kind ever committed in this country.’ 

Lulu Lakatos is seen bundling a jewel-laden purse into her handbag before switching it with a duplicate weighed down by worthless pebbles

Lulu Lakatos is seen bundling a jewel-laden purse into her handbag before switching it with a duplicate weighed down by worthless pebbles

Lakatos posed as gemologist 'Anna', who was sent to the luxury Mayfair jewellers to value the stones on behalf of supposed wealthy Russian buyers

Lakatos posed as gemologist 'Anna', who was sent to the luxury Mayfair jewellers to value the stones on behalf of supposed wealthy Russian buyers

Lakatos posed as gemologist ‘Anna’, who was sent to the luxury Mayfair jewellers to value the stones on behalf of supposed wealthy Russian buyers

Some of the gems that  Lakatos stole in the audacious theft in central London

Some of the gems that  Lakatos stole in the audacious theft in central London

Some of the gems that  Lakatos stole in the audacious theft in central London 

The most valuable of the gems, a heart-shaped diamond, was worth £2,215,138 alone.

Grey-haired and bespectacled Lakatos, who was wearing a mask in the dock, denied conspiracy to steal claiming the con was carried out by her sister who has since died in a car accident.

But she wept as she was convicted by the jury at Southwark Crown Court after 9 hours and 19 minutes of deliberations.

Prosecutor Oliver Mosley said after the 10-to-two majority verdict was announced: ‘This was a conspiracy of the highest sophistication, believed to be of the highest value of its kind ever committed in this country.

‘Although it was a simple ruse, it was a highly sophisticated plan.’

Police likened the heist to the thefts portrayed in the Ocean’s Eleven movie franchise, starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

Lakatos was part of a gang of grifters who had been travelling Europe trying to rip of banks and jewellers with her amazing sleight of hand. 

Her sister Liliana walked off with the Euro 400,000 on 15 October 2014 from AEK Bank in Oberhofen in Bern, Switzerland.

Liliana switched an envelope containing eight bundles of euros for a similar envelope containing worthless paper while AEK executive Reta Hartmann was distracted by a phone-call during their meeting in a Swiss bank vault.

Swiss police later identified the woman who swapped the envelopes as a Lakatos but for some reason she was never arrested or charged.

Two years later Mr Wainwright was contacted by a man calling himself Simon Glas, who claimed he was Israeli.

‘He said he was interested in buying diamonds for investment and I had been recommended by a friend of mine called Jonathan Slater,’ said Mr Wainwright.

The jeweller found the offer ‘quite interesting’ and the two men arranged to meet in Monaco to discuss the deal.

He met Mr Glas at the world famous Hotel de Paris on 2 March, where he was flanked by two Russian associates, one of whom called himself Alexander.

‘He said he wanted to invest $13 million in diamonds and asked if we would take cash,’ Mr Wainwright said.

‘I said no, we can’t take cash for that as that is effectively money laundering, it has to be electronic. I didn’t want to knock the deal on the head so I kept talking.

‘He said can I take 10 to 15 per cent cash, which I found slightly odd,’ said Mr Wainwright.

 After the meeting, the potential buyers ‘left abruptly’ and Mr Wainwright kept communicating with ‘Alexander’ to discuss potential gems to sell.

After they settled on seven items worth a total of £7,299,671, ‘Alexander’ asked for his gemologist to verify the diamonds, which agreed was ‘fair enough’.

When ‘Anna’ arrived at the store on March 10 Mr Wainwright was ‘surprised’ by the fact she didn’t speak very good English, although the two conversed in French.

He watched her ‘like a hawk’ as she assessed the jewellery, placed it small blue opaque boxes, and then in a black lockable bag.

Mr Wainwright told the court: ‘This woman called ‘Anna’ looked strange.

‘She didn’t look at the stones through an eyeglass, as a gemmologist might do, and she didn’t check their certificates.’

‘Alexander’ called Mr Wainwright but said he couldn’t hear him very well.

Prosecutors said it was the highest value theft offence of its kind ever committed in the UK. Pictured: The London Boodles store

Prosecutors said it was the highest value theft offence of its kind ever committed in the UK. Pictured: The London Boodles store

Prosecutors said it was the highest value theft offence of its kind ever committed in the UK. Pictured: The London Boodles store  

Assuming the bad signal of the basement was too blame, Mr Wainwright went up the staircase, leaving Anna alone with Boodles’ gemmologist Emma Barton.

‘When I came back four minutes later Emma looked quite a bit frightened,’ he said.

‘I asked ‘are you alright’ and she said that Anna had put the bag of diamonds in her handbag.

‘Emma said ‘I’m not happy’, she had them in her bag and took them out very soon afterwards,’ said Mr Wainwright.

He asked to search Anna’s bag, and she reluctantly agreed, but he saw no sign of a locked bag containing the gems.

‘I looked at the handbag for about ten seconds but I didn’t see the bag, so I assumed it was on the table.

‘In retrospect there were a lot of unusual things at the time but I didn’t realise it.’

Mr Wainwright added: ‘This woman called ‘Anna’ looked strange.

‘Anna’ was most unattractive, she was overweight, she was dressed most extraordinarily, she was wearing the sort of thing a Russian dancer would wear.

‘She had enormous boobs and you could see her cleavage, it was most unattractive.’

Ms Barton told the jury: ‘She came in wearing a camel coat.

‘When she took it off, she was wearing a very low cut black dress. She was wearing a hat very low-down, so I couldn’t see her forehead and she was wearing a pair of glasses with thick arms.

‘She didn’t use a loupe, a jeweller’s eye glass. As a first point of call, that is what you would generally do.

‘She had some gemmologist’s equipment that she brought with her, scales, an ultraviolet light, and a thermal conductivity probe.

Nicholas Wainwright, Chairman of Boodles, which was hit by a £4.2million diamond theft

Nicholas Wainwright, Chairman of Boodles, which was hit by a £4.2million diamond theft

Nicholas Wainwright, Chairman of Boodles, which was hit by a £4.2million diamond theft

‘She took each stone, weighed it, placed it under ultraviolet light, and used the thermal conductivity probe.

‘She didn’t know how to use her equipment very well. First of all, would never use the ultraviolet light under shop lights, you need a darkened room.

‘It did make me question the qualifications that ‘Anna’ had.’

‘Anna’ also did not know how to use the thermal conductivity probe correctly, causing it to malfunction.

Ms Barton then gave ‘Anna’ her probe to use for the rest of the meeting.

Ms Barton then told the jury what she did after ‘Anna’ casually put the diamonds in her handbag.

She said: ‘I said ‘No, no, no, you can’t do that, please take them out of your handbag now, I have to see them at all times.’

‘She said: ‘It’s okay, don’t worry, it’s nothing to worry about. Then she took the bag out and placed it on the table. Four million pounds worth of diamonds had been out of my sight.’

It was only when Lakatos had gone that the bag was opened in front of stunned staff.

A DNA profile was recovered from the pebbles which showed a strong link to Lakatos.

Lakatos and her four associates were out of the country within three hours.

Her two female associates, who left with the diamonds, have still not been identified.

Her two male associates, Mickael Jovanovic and Christophe Stankovic, earlier admitted conspiracy to steal.

Jurors watched CCTV footage of Lakatos checking into a hotel in north London on 9 March 2016, the day before the heist.

The same woman got into a grey Citroen car late in the evening along with Jovanovic and Stankovic.

The grey Citroen then was caught on CCTV stopping opposite Boodles, before returning to Cricklewood and dropping Anna off at the hotel.

After the theft Lakatos changed her clothes in a pub toilet and was recorded on CCTV at St Pancras Station, calmly walking through the gates into the international departure lounge at 1.55pm.

She produced her own passport, confident she could not be traced to the heist, before taking a Eurostar train to France.

Lakatos, who has Romanian and Hungarian citizenship, has a series of convictions for minor thefts in France dating back to 2002.

She was arrested in France on 24 September last year and extradited to the UK on 3 December.

But when she was confronted with the CCTV footage of her she told jurors: ‘It’s my sister.’

Lakatos, last living in Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, France, denied but was convicted of conspiracy to steal between 15 February and 11 March 2016.

Jovanovic was jailed for three years and eight months for conspiracy to steal in June 2020.

Stankovic was caught and jailed in 2016.

Acting Detective Sergeant William Man of the Flying Squad said: ‘This was an audacious theft, carried out in plain view of experienced and professional staff at a renowned jewellers. 

‘The meticulous planning and execution of this theft reveals to me that those involved were highly skilled criminals. 

‘However, due to the tenacious police work of the Flying Squad, involving painstaking analysis of a vast amount of evidence, we have managed to identify Lakatos and bring her to justice. 

‘While she played a key role in this theft, it is clear she did not work alone and enquiries remain ongoing to identify all those involved.’ 

How Romanian thief, 60, almost got away with £4.2m Ocean’s Eleven-style diamond heist from London society jeweller Boodles using sleight of hand to swap them for PEBBLES as she is found guilty despite pointing finger of blame at her dead lookalike sister

By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter for MailOnline

The buxom and ‘most unattractive’ Romanian thief convicted of being behind the biggest jewellery shop heist in British history swapped diamonds for pebbles before she left the UK for France within three hours and then blamed a lookalike sister who had been killed in a car crash.

Lulu Lakatos faces years in a British jail after she was convicted of being a fake gemmologist known as Anna who pulled off the audacious theft right under the nose of the boss of Boodles of New Bond Street.

But Lukatos almost got away with the ‘perfect crime’ after distracting witnesses with her ample cleavage, an outrageous low-cut dress and dyed-bob, nothing like the grey-haired ‘plump’ thief in the dock at Southwark Crown Court over the past month. 

Lukatos almost got away with the 'perfect crime' after distracting witnesses with her ample cleavage, an outrageous low-cut dress and dyed-bob, nothing like the grey-haired 'plump' thief in the dock at Southwark Crown Court over the past month

Lukatos almost got away with the 'perfect crime' after distracting witnesses with her ample cleavage, an outrageous low-cut dress and dyed-bob, nothing like the grey-haired 'plump' thief in the dock at Southwark Crown Court over the past month

Lukatos almost got away with the ‘perfect crime’ after distracting witnesses with her ample cleavage, an outrageous low-cut dress and dyed-bob, nothing like the grey-haired ‘plump’ thief in the dock at Southwark Crown Court over the past month 

In a plot resembling the Ocean’s 8 movie starring Anne Hathaway, the conwoman fooled Boodles chairman Nicholas Wainwright by posing as a gemmologist hired by wealthy Russian businessmen seeking to purchase the precious stones from its flagship Mayfair store.

But unlike the glamorous gem thieves dressed in designer clothing in the hit movie, Lakatos resembled a plump ‘Russian dancer’ in a low-cut dress, flashing her ample cleavage, witnesses said.

Gemmologist Emma Barton and Mr Wainwright were both hoodwinked after he agreed to sell the precious stones to a gang posing as Moscow millionaires with links to Israel.

The chairman, whose family have run the luxury jewellers for six generations, agreed to let a diamond expert known as Anna visit the basement of his flagship Mayfair store to inspect the gems when she swapped them for worthless pebbles without anyone noticing on March 10, 2016.

Sources with knowledge of the crime, and subsequent investigation, tell me they believe it was actually inspired by a 2014 Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall documentary called The Million Pound Necklace: Inside Boodles, which offered a ‘privileged peek’ behind the scenes of the family-owned firm. 

And as for the society jeweller, they have recovered a small amount of funds via proceeds of crime proceedings, but remain millions out of pocket if the gems weren’t fully insured.

The intrinsic plan, most of which took place in London, began in Monaco before a heist that saw the protaganists

The intrinsic plan, most of which took place in London, began in Monaco before a heist that saw the protaganists

The intrinsic plan, most of which took place in London, began in Monaco before a heist that saw the protaganists 

The gems were to be placed in a padlocked purse and held in the jewellers’ vault until funds were transferred.

But CCTV footage from the family firm’s New Bond Street basement showroom captured the moment the purse was put into Anna’s handbag and switched for a duplicate just containing small rocks as Mr Wainwright went upstairs to take a telephone call from the Russian purchaser.

Details of the heist were revealed by 27-year-old Frenchman called Mickael Jovanovic (pictured) following a Scotland Yard investigation spanning three years and multiple countries

Details of the heist were revealed by 27-year-old Frenchman called Mickael Jovanovic (pictured) following a Scotland Yard investigation spanning three years and multiple countries

Details of the heist were revealed by 27-year-old Frenchman called Mickael Jovanovic (pictured) following a Scotland Yard investigation spanning three years and multiple countries

Lakatos moved the loot from her bag to the handbag of two unknown young women, who had been waiting in nearby Ralph Lauren and Cartier stores.

The thief from the Saint Brieuc region of France then changed her clothes in a pub toilet near Victoria station before leaving London on the Eurostar.

Within three hours, the gang had left the country with the haul, which included a £1.1 million three carat pear-shaped fancy pink diamond.

Two members of the gang, Mickael Jovanovic and Christophe Stankovic have already admitted conspiracy to steal.

Lakatos was arrested in France on September 24 last year and extradited to the UK to stand trial in December.

But in an extraordinary case Lulu Lakatos said her sister Liliana had confessed months before her death to being the fake gemmologist known as Anna who pulled off the audacious theft right under the nose of the boss of society jewellers Boodles.

How the biggest jewellery shop heist in British history was executed

March 2, 2016  

Nick Wainwright was contacted out of the blue by the aforementioned ‘Simon Glas’, who according to court papers claimed to be ‘the business associate of someone [he] knew’.

‘Glas’ said he was interested in purchasing high-value diamonds as an investment, and over the ensuing days managed to convince Mr Wainwright to travel to Monaco for a face-to-face meeting with a group of investors. He met three men, including the aforementioned Alexander, who ‘was posing as the prime mover’.

A deal was then struck whereby the group would buy seven specific diamonds. However, to verify that they were the specified size and quality, the Russians asked for their gemmologist to be allowed to inspect the stones at the Boodles HQ on New Bond Street.

March 7

Gang member called Christophe Stankovic — who like most of his accomplices is a French national of Albanian heritage — rented a Citroen DS4 hatchback at Charles De Gaulle airport outside Paris.

March 9 

Two days later, he and Jovanovic drove to the UK via the Channel Tunnel, entering Kent at 1.15pm. They then checked into the Best Western Hotel in Ilford, Essex, with two female accomplices.

At 8.15pm, ‘Anna’ left her friend behind and walked to a local cafe, where she was met by Stankovic and Jovanovic. The trio drove in the Citroen to New Bond Street in Central London, where they carried out surveillance on the Boodles store and its surroundings.

March 10

The day of the heist — the four gang members who had stayed in Ilford checked out of the hotel and took a minicab to Bond Street, where they arrived around 9.30am.

‘Anna’ and her female accomplice, for their part, got a cab to the Willow Walk pub, a branch of Wetherspoons near to Victoria Station, where the accomplice waited with their suitcases. Fast forward an hour, and ‘Anna’ was met at Boodles by Mr Wainwright and a gemmologist called Emma Barton.

She wore a dark coat, silk scarf and designer hat, and spoke with a thick French accent. Her name, she said, was ‘Anna’, and she was a gem expert hoping to inspect seven large diamonds on behalf of a wealthy Russian who’d agreed to buy them for £4.2 million.

‘Anna’ was escorted into a basement showroom by Michael’s brother Nick, the silver-haired chairman of Boodles who is renowned in moneyed circles both for his brilliant salesmanship and salmon-pink socks and ties.

A week earlier, he’d travelled to Monaco to negotiate the transaction with ‘Anna’s’ boss, who went by the name of ‘Alexander’, and a second gentleman who had set up the meeting, called ‘Simon Glas’.

Exactly 56 minutes later, having declared herself happy with the jewels, ‘Anna’ bid ‘au revoir’ and walked out of the store onto New Bond Street.

She left behind the diamonds, including a stunning 20-carat heart-shaped sparkler worth £2.2 million and measuring roughly the size of a Fox’s glacier mint. 

They had been placed in a padlocked pouch that Anna had brought with her and returned to Mr Wainwright, who’d then proceeded to lock them carefully away in the store’s safe.

Or so he thought.

In fact, ‘Anna’ had just carried out one of the most audacious heists in criminal history, using extraordinary sleight of hand to secretly swap the bag of gems for worthless pebbles packed in an identical pouch. 

It would later emerge that she’d hidden the real stones in a secret compartment in her handbag, and spirited them out of the boutique.

CCTV footage shows her quickly dropping the diamonds into one of their handbags (the second woman ‘attempted to shield the transaction’) before returning to the Willow Walk pub, where she adjourned to the toilets and changed clothes, replacing her dark coat with a light one in an apparent effort to throw off detectives studying CCTV footage.

She and the accomplice who had waited there for her then travelled to King’s Cross and caught a Eurostar train back to Paris.

Meanwhile, Stankovic and Jovanovic and the two women who now had the diamonds hailed separate taxis and asked to be taken to the Gants Hill roundabout in East London.

They then met up, walked back to their hotel, jumped in the Citroen, and returned to France via the Channel Tunnel. En route, they were seen on camera stopping on the A12 to deposit an object in a drain.

It remains unclear what that object actually was, but within three hours, they too were out of the UK.

The 60-year-old Romanian said her younger sister had used her passport to travel to the UK and carry out the eyewatering con in 2016, snatching gems including a heart-shaped diamond worth £2,215,138 in a ‘sleight of hand’.

Lakatos told Southwark Crown Court that her sibling took steps to age her appearance and stole her passport at a time that she was distracted by her husband’s prostate cancer.

The convicted thief, who admitted to having several convictions dating back to 2002, claimed her sister planned to hand herself into police in Paris.

But before she could do so, she was killed in a car accident in Constanta County, Romania.

The bespectacled grey-haired defendant produced a death certificate to prove her sister died aged 49 on October 1, 2019.

Jurors heard Liliana also had a string of convictions for theft and was wanted in Switzerland for theft and fraud at the time of her death.

Fingermarks left on the glass table in the Boodles showroom could not be matched to Lulu Lakatos’s prints.

A mixed DNA profile was recovered from the pebbles swapped for the diamonds which could not exclude either sister, jurors were told.

It also emerged that Boodles own gemmologist Emma Barton who witnessed the heist picked out Liliana as the culprit in an identification procedure. 

But, in his closing speech to the jury, Mr Stott said it was Lulu Lakatos, not her sister, who was captured on CCTV switching the diamonds for pebbles at Boodles before handing them to an accomplice and fleeing to France.

‘You can see her in the footage, it is her,’ he said.

‘What has happened here is very simple: The defendant has taken advantage of the fact that her sister sadly passed away in order to try and avoid the blame for this offence.’ 

Lula Lakatos, who has Romanian and Hungarian citizenship, had admitted she had carried out a series of minor thefts in France dating back to 2002.

Giving evidence through a French interpreter, she said: ‘I went through difficult times, financially, so I know it’s wrong to do it but I had difficult financial moments.

‘I have stopped because I was too scared to carry on with my life like this, so I tried to find other means.

‘I worked in short term contracts.

‘I was in school, in a canteen, I did some cleaning work.

‘I have been living in Saint-Brieuc since 1983, 1984, with my husband, later on I took an apartment with my sister.’ When Ioana Nedelcu, defending, asked: ‘Who is the person that has been called ‘Anna’ throughout these proceedings?

The 60-year-old dressed in a plain black dress, with her frizzy grey hair tied back in a ponytail, replied: ‘It is my sister, Liliana Lakatos.’ 

Lakatos told jurors she had not been in the UK since a trip with her sister and Georgeta Danila – another woman said to have been involved in the Boodles theft – in 2012.

Her sister only confessed after Danila was held by police months before Liliana’s death, she said.

‘When her friend Georgeta Danila has been stopped, this is when she confessed about the passport and everything else,’ Lakatos told the court.

‘In March 2016, I was in Saint-Brieuc, in France.

‘In 2016, my husband had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, I was dealing with that for the whole year.

‘At first, I was angry, and she promised that she will make everything up.

‘She wanted to do it herself. She promised me she needed time, she wanted to present herself. If she didn’t have this accident, she would be here today.’ But prosecutor Philip Stott suggested: ‘Is what is happened you have decided to take advantage of the fact your sister has passed away and sought to pin all the blame on her? That’s what you have done, haven’t you?’

Lakatos replied: ‘No, not at all sir. If my sister were alive, she would be standing here.

‘I would have preferred it if she was here, because she would have preferred to be in jail, because you can come back from jail, however, she can’t come back from where she is now.’ The prosecutor asked: ‘What your saying is that your sister has taken your passport, coloured her hair, gone to England to carry out this crime, returned to France, made herself look her normal age, to then return to your apartment to replace the passport, is that the suggestion you’re making?  

‘You would agree, wouldn’t you, that the woman we see in the CCTV look an awful lot like you doesn’t she?’

Lakatos replied: ‘It looks like, but it’s not me.’ She is alleged to have switched the diamonds to the handbag of an unknown woman before leaving London for France on the Eurostar with Danila.  

Boodles chairman Nicholas Wainwright said the woman he knew as ‘Anna’ was dressed ‘extraordinarily’.

The chairman, whose family have run the luxury jewellers for six generations, had agreed to let the supposed diamond expert visit the basement of his New Bond Street store to inspect the gems, when she allegedly swapped them for pebbles using ‘sleight of hand’ without anyone noticing on March 10, 2016.

In an elaborate sting by the thieves, Mr Wainwright had previously agreed the sale of the seven diamonds following a lunch meeting at Monaco’s Hotel Metropole.

But when the fake gemmologist arrived to inspect the gems, she ‘looked strange’.

‘This woman called Anna looked strange,’ he said.

‘She didn’t look at the stones through an eyeglass, as a gemmologist might do, and she didn’t check their certificates.’

Boodles jewellers were horrified to notice that the seven diamonds 'Anna' had inspected had been replaced by pebbles that were of similar size

Boodles jewellers were horrified to notice that the seven diamonds 'Anna' had inspected had been replaced by pebbles that were of similar size

Boodles jewellers were horrified to notice that the seven diamonds ‘Anna’ had inspected had been replaced by pebbles that were of similar size

He told the court: ‘Anna was most unattractive, she was overweight, she was dressed most extraordinarily, she was wearing the sort of thing a Russian dancer would wear.

‘She had enormous boobs and you could see her cleavage, it was most unattractive.’ He added, ‘I was watching her like a hawk,’ but said he was distracted by a call from the fake Russian buyer.

The behaviour of Lakatos, who has Romanian and Hungarian citizenship, also arouse the suspicions of Boodles’ own gemmologist Emma Barton who was watching. 

Miss Barton described the imposter: ‘She came in wearing a camel coat.

‘When she took it off, she was wearing a very low-cut black dress. She was wearing a hat very low-down, so I couldn’t see her forehead, and she was wearing a pair of glasses with thick arms.

‘She didn’t use a loupe, a jeweller’s eye glass. As a first point of call, that is what you would generally do.

‘She had some gemmologist’s equipment that she brought with her, scales, an ultraviolet light and a thermal conductivity probe.

‘She took each stone, weighed it, places it under ultraviolet light, and used the thermal conductivity probe.

‘She didn’t know how to use her equipment very well. First of all, would never use the ultraviolet light under shop lights, you need a darkened room.

‘It did make me question the qualifications that Anna had.’

Christophe Stankovic, a gang member involved in the heist, rented a Citroen DS4 hatchback in Paris and then checked into the Best Western Hotel in Ilford, Essex (pictured) with two other accomplices

Christophe Stankovic, a gang member involved in the heist, rented a Citroen DS4 hatchback in Paris and then checked into the Best Western Hotel in Ilford, Essex (pictured) with two other accomplices

Christophe Stankovic, a gang member involved in the heist, rented a Citroen DS4 hatchback in Paris and then checked into the Best Western Hotel in Ilford, Essex (pictured) with two other accomplices

The Romanian defendant is said to have chatted to Mr Wainwright in French as she weighed the jewels before wrapping each in pre-cut tissue paper and placing them inside opaque boxes she had brought along with her.

When the examination was complete, the boxes were placed into a zipped purse bag which was then padlocked shut while Boodles own gemmologist Emma Barton was watching, jurors heard.

But she managed to perform a swap with an identical bag full of pebbles after putting the diamonds in her handbag momentarily, it was alleged.

Miss Barton recalled: ‘I said ‘No, no, no, you can’t do that, please take them out of your handbag now, I have to see them at all times.’

‘She said: ‘It’s OK, don’t worry, it’s nothing to worry about.’

‘Then she took the bag out and placed it on the table.

‘Four million pounds worth of diamonds had been out of my sight.’  

Thomas Short, from the CPS, said: ‘Lulu Lakatos’ actions were criminal. She played an integral part in an audacious swoop that could be likened to a scene from a Hollywood film.

‘Having committed the ultimate sleight of hand, Lakatos simply walked out of a Mayfair luxury jewellers with more than £4m worth of diamonds in her handbag.

‘The prosecution case included strong witness testimony and CCTV footage which showed Lakatos arriving outside Boodles the evening before, while the shop was closed, to scope out the area. We were also able to show her movements after the heist which included efforts to change her appearance and leave the country via Eurostar in less than three hours after stepping foot into Boodles.

‘The CPS is committed to prosecuting those who break the law for their own financial gain and will work with the police to catch and prosecute offenders.’ 

After 'Anna' managed to steal the £4.2million worth of diamonds, she changed her clothes in a nearby Wetherspoons pub before fleeing to Kings Cross station to travel back to Paris via Eurostar

After 'Anna' managed to steal the £4.2million worth of diamonds, she changed her clothes in a nearby Wetherspoons pub before fleeing to Kings Cross station to travel back to Paris via Eurostar

After ‘Anna’ managed to steal the £4.2million worth of diamonds, she changed her clothes in a nearby Wetherspoons pub before fleeing to Kings Cross station to travel back to Paris via Eurostar



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