Michael Winner's Widow Tied Up and Robbed by 'Ex-girlfriend'

Geuorgoieva from West Kensington believed she had been cut out of his will

Geraldine and Michael Winner

The widow of film director Michael Winner was attacked, tied up and robbed by a woman from West Kensington who claims to be his ex-girlfiend, a court has heard.

48 year-old personal trainer Gurgana Geuorgoieva, of Russell Road, was said to have been in a relationship with Mr Winner around 20 years ago and believed Mrs Geraldine Winner, who married him in 2011, had deliberately ensured she was cut out of his will.

Mrs Winner, then 77 and now 81, was set upon when she was putting out the bins at 10.30pm on Friday 9 October 2015.

A violent robbery ensued, lasting three hours and she suffered serious head injuries - including three large, deep cuts to her head - after being repeatedly hit with a kettle.

She was also blindfolded and left with a broken finger and rib.

She was tied up so tightly with cable she struggled to breathe and at one point was stood on.

At least £100,000 worth of jewellery, art and cash was stolen from her flat in Ennismore Gardens in Kensington, including cash, items of jewellery including a heart-shaped diamond pendant and a painting of St Mark's Basilica in Venice by Franz Richard Unterburger.

Mrs Winner sustained serious head wounds and a broken finger. She said that she felt uncomfortable in her own home following the attack but added: "They can take my possessions but they cannot take my memories."

Gueorguieva, who claims to have been in a relationship with the late film director between 1999 and 2002, wore a wig during the attack. She was captured on CCTV entering the flat earlier than evening and later on Kensington High Street. A £10,000 award was issued and the CCTV footage was broadcast on BBC’s Crimewatch.

In July, she admitted to one count of robbery but claimed that the injuries were not deliberate and denied stealing nearly £18,000.

The Daily Telegraph says that speaking via videolink on Thursday, Mrs Winner told Southwark Crown Court how she was ambushed while taking the bins out at about 10pm and was pushed face-down onto the counter.

Mrs Winner said Gueorguieva told her she had been sent by Mrs Winner's sons who wanted their inheritance.

After being pushed to the ground, a struggle broke out when Mrs Winner attempted to hit her attacker with a kettle.

Mrs Winner told the court: "She got hold of that and hit me on the head. and that's when I saw stars, and I thought right, I'm stopping now, and that's when I lay on the floor and then saw blood everywhere.

"She asked me 'where's the heart-shaped diamond', so I told her where the safe was. I would have done anything just to get rid of her."

Mrs Winner said she remembered being hit between three or four times with the kettle and was later stood on to prevent her from screaming when a person went past her door.

Mrs Winner was only able to free herself once the woman left and had to use a pair of scissors from a kitchen drawer to cut her ties.

Prosecutor Mark Gadsden said: "These injuries could not have simply have come about by way of accidental contact or inadvertent contact, was the defence submission, between the kettle and Mrs Winner's head during the course of a struggle."

He argued the robbery was the product of two years of "meticulous" planning, including repeated trips to Mrs Winner's home.

Mr Winner, who made more than 30 films including the blockbuster Death Wish series, died aged 77 in January 2013, two years before the attack.

Gueorguieva said she had been in a relationship with the victim's late husband between 1999 and 2002 and "disliked" Mrs Winner.

According to the Telegraph, Patrick Dennis, defending, said: "She was in a relationship with Michael Winner which finished in 2002 or thereabouts and she remained relatively close to him.

"When Michael Winner sadly died around 2013, she came to understand that she would be receiving something from his will."

Gueorguieva believed Mrs Winner, who married Michael in 2011, had deliberately ensured she was cut out of Mr Winner's will.

She told the court: "It was never my intention to cause any physical harm to her and in fact I was very careful not to do so but it ended up that way because she was fighting back quite hard.

"Obviously she was scared and I am not blaming her."

All but six pieces of jewellery, many of which were of sentimental as well as monetary value, were recovered, as well as a painting taken from its frame.

Family photographs and the cash - which was for an upcoming holiday with her sons - were not recovered.

Gueorguieva was caught after trying to sell a watch taken from Mrs Winner's home to an undercover police officer.

She initially denied the robbery, but later admitted the charge during a police interview.

The hearing continues.

September 27, 2019