A serial burglar was able to help himself to almost £1m-worth of jewellery at Simon Cowell’s Holland Park home in west London as the safe was left unlocked to allow his American partner Lauren Silverman retrieve her gems quietly before she left for the US.
Darren February, 33, of no fixed address, had denied the break-in while the X Factor and music impresario and his family slept.
He scooped a handful of jewellery including a ring valued at £500,000, earrings, watches and a diamond bracelet alongside two passports (perhaps as mementoes) from an unlocked safe while a security guard was in the loo in December 2015, Isleworth Crown Court heard.
February who coincidentally got his comeuppance on 27 February had previously been convicted of 37 burglaries, the prosecution said. He was first convicted aged 12 and has committed a further 58 offences spanning two decades pushing him firmly into the ‘serial category’.
The jury were very speedy with him finding him guilty in under one hour after a four-day trial.
The court heard February’s DNA was found on gloves dropped during his getaway bid and on a handprint left on a wall at the detached mansion. A security worker also spotted him as he fled.
In a statement read out in court, Mr Cowell said he and his partner Lauren Silverman had been “very concerned” for their son Eric after receiving news of the burglary.
He explained the safe had been left open as Ms Silverman was catching a flight in the morning and wanted to “quietly get her jewellery” when she left.
Cowell’s home has been susceptible to break-ins in the past with a female trespasser accosting the Britain’s Got Talent mastermind in his bathrobe some years ago. The house which faces a busy thoroughfare continues to be a magnet for unwanted visitors in this affluent neighbourhood where homes can average £16m.