Simon Cowell burglar convicted over £1m jewellery raid

Darren February, who has been described as a serial offender, broke into the star's house in Holland Park as Cowell and his family slept and his security guard used the toilet

Simon Cowell burglar convicted over £1m jewellery raid

Image: Rui Vieira PA Wire/PA Image

A man has been convicted of stealing jewellery worth nearly £1m from the west London home of entertainment mogul Simon Cowell.

Darren February, who has been described as a serial offender, broke into the star's house in Holland Park as Cowell and his family slept and his security guard used the toilet.

Ten days before he carried out the burglary on 4 December, 2015, February knocked down a motorcyclist while driving a car and killed him.

February, 33, was jailed last year for eight and a half years for causing death by dangerous driving after killing 52-year-old father Kenneth Baldwin.

Prosecutor Denis Barry said February had already been convicted of 37 burglaries, repeatedly targeting the wealthy areas of Kensington and Bayswater as they provided "rich pickings".

He was out on licence for other burglaries and for public order offences at the time he broke into Cowell's home.

He was first convicted of an offence at the age of 12, Isleworth Crown Court was told.

February shook his head after the jury took less than an hour to find him guilty following a four-day trial.

His DNA was found on gloves dropped at the scene, and on a handprint on a wall at Cowell's property.

February was also identified by the security worker as he fled, and later by police who were aware he had been active in the area.

Giles Newell, defending, said his client was a victim of mistaken identity, but February failed to provide an alibi and chose not to give evidence in court.

During evidence, it emerged that Cowell's security worker Simon Williams believed he must have been using the bathroom at the moment the burglary occurred.

He rejected a claim made to the media by Cowell shortly after the raid that it could have been an "inside job".

Cowell, in a statement read to the court, said the safe was open at the time so his partner Lauren Silverman could "quietly get her jewellery" ahead of a flight abroad the morning after.

He said the couple were "very concerned" for their then two-year-old son Eric when they were woken and told the break-in had taken place.

Among the items taken were a ring estimated to be worth £500,000, earrings, watches and a diamond bracelet.

(Additional reporting from IRN)