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Appeal following aggravated burglary

News   •   Dec 14, 2015 21:12 GMT

[Image of stolen painting]

Detectives from Westminster are appealing for witnesses following an aggravated burglary that took place at the home of the widow of film director Michael Winner.

In an effort to identify the person or persons responsible, detectives have made an appeal on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme and have released CCTV footage of a woman they wish to speak with in connection with this attack at the home of 77-year-old Geraldine Winner.

A £10,000 reward for any information that leads to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person(s) responsible for this aggravated burglary is on offer.

On Friday, 9 October, at approximately 22:00hrs, Mrs Winner opened her flat door in Ennismore Gardens, Kensington, to put some rubbish out when she was attacked with a weapon by a woman who forced her back into her home.

Her hands and feet were tied up and she was blindfolded. The suspect then stole a quantity of jewellery including a heart shaped diamond pendant, cash - including Euros - and a painting of St Mark's Basilica in Venice by the artist, Franz Richard Unterburger. The suspect left the flat leaving Mrs Winner tied up and blindfolded on her kitchen floor.

There is CCTV that shows the suspect entering the block of flats just after 19:00hrs and then leaving after 01:00hrs on Saturday, 10 October.

The suspect is described as a white woman, aged in her mid 30s, of slim build, wearing a dark coat, dark trousers, a dark floppy hat and carrying a large bag over her shoulder and a small rucksack on her back. CCTV shows her walking away towards Kensington High Street.

Mrs Winner sustained serious head wounds and a broken finger as a result of the attack which required hospital treatment.

Detectives believe that the stolen heart shaped pendant and painting were of particular interest to the thief and would like to appeal for any information about them or their whereabouts.

Detective Chief Inspector Jane Corrigan, from Westminster CID, said: "Mrs Winner was subjected to an extremely violent attack in her own home by a female suspect. I have never seen an attack of this nature committed by a lone female throughout my policing career. 

"The suspect was very specific in terms of the items she was looking for and the motive is still being investigated.

"The suspect had clearly planned the attack and may have been in the area days or weeks before. We believe she was wearing a wig at the time of the assault. I would ask if the public to call us if they saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area before the attack matching the description of the female in the CCTV.

"This incident has left Mrs Winner feeling vulnerable in her own home and I need the support of public to solve this case. Someone knows this woman."

Mrs Winner, who is extremely shaken by the attack and now uncomfortable staying at home, said: "They can take my possessions but they cannot take my memories."

Anyone with information should call Westminster CID on 020 7321 7680. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org

No arrests have been made and enquiries continue.