‘Obsessed’ ex of Michael Winner jailed for violent robbery of his widow
The "obsessed" ex-partner of Michael Winner who violently robbed his widow has been sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in prison.
Gurgana Gueorguieva subjected Geraldine Winner to a three-hour ordeal at her Knightsbridge home in October 2015 after forcing herself into the flat shortly after 10pm.
During the attack the 48-year-old hit and restrained Mrs Winner with plastic cable ties before stealing jewellery, cash and art.
The elderly woman was left with three deep cuts to the head as well as a broken rib and finger.
Gueorguieva confessed to stealing items worth between £100,000 and £300,000, as well as taking framed photographs of Michael Winner.
However, when she pleaded guilty Gueorguieva denied bringing a weapon to intentionally injure the 81-year-old widow or taking €20,000, prompting a fact-finding hearing at Southwark Crown Court.
Prosecutors alleged she had brought and used an iron bar as well as using Mrs Winner's own kettle to deliberately cause the injuries, both before and after pushing her way into the flat to start the robbery.
Gueorguieva, of Russell Road in Holland Park, London, argued the injuries were inflicted in self-defence while she tried to get Mrs Winner to calm down.
On Friday Judge Peter Testar ruled Gueorguieva took the money, but could not be sure whether she brought the iron bar to the scene.
He also found that she did not "gratuitously" cause Mrs Winner pain.
The court heard Gueorguieva had spent two years preparing for the offence including following Mrs Winner home, researching the building and listening to her conversations to gather information for the attack.
She had been in a relationship with Mr Winner between 1999 and 2002 and admitted she "disliked" Mrs Winner, who married the famed director and restaurant critic in 2011.
Mr Winner died at the age of 77 two years later.
Prosecutor Mark Gadsden said: "The primary motive was to get revenge by taking items of sentimental value but there was a secondary motive to make money from it."
Patrick Dennis, defending, argued that his client believed she had been unfairly treated in the writing up of Mr Winner's will.
"She had a heartfelt feeling she had been wronged," the lawyer said.
Gueorguieva told the court she believed Mrs Winner had convinced her husband to remove her from his will, rescinding a potential inheritance of £100,000.
She also claimed that Mrs Winner had used voodoo dolls to cause her late partner suffering, blaming the widow for the liver problems that led to his death in 2013.
However, Judge Testar said that these were "extraordinary ideas".
Handing down the nine-year six-month sentence, Judge Testar said the offence was a "prolonged" attack on the widow who was vulnerable.
He added: "She developed a loathing of Geraldine Winner. It is no exaggeration to say that her resentment of Mrs Winner became an obsession.
"The defendant wanted to take away items from Geraldine Winner that were important to her, particularly items that were given to her by Michael Winner."
Judge Testar said that Gueorguieva intentionally took items including framed photos of Mr Winner with famous people, as well as sentimental jewellery.
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