Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Woman admits stealing Brown cheques

Derren Brown was in court as a cleaner admitted stealing cheques from him

A cleaner has admitted stealing cheques from illusionist Derren Brown.

Rocio Pavon-Navarrete, 47, took two signed cheques from the TV star's home while he was away.

Co-accused Bernard Ayanbanjo, 48, went on trial for fraud after it was alleged he received the cheques from the cleaner and paid them into his bank account.

Brown sat in the public gallery during the proceedings at Southwark Crown Court, wearing a brown suit, white shirt and black tie.

Pavon-Navarrete, of Bardsley Lane, Greenwich, broke down in tears after pleading guilty to one charge of theft. She will be sentenced on October 11 and judge David Higgins warned her she could be jailed.

"Whilst I have adjourned for a pre-sentence report, indeed a high probability remains that she will be sentenced to immediate custody given that which is obviously the grossest breach of confidence," he said. "I wish her to have no illusions about what the future is likely to hold, given the very serious criminality to which she has pleaded guilty."

Ayanbanjo, of Waverley Road, Woolwich, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of fraud. Bethan Charnley, prosecuting, told the jury that he is accused of taking the cheques, worth £21,550.35 and £11,500, from Pavon-Navarrete and paying them into his own bank account between October and December 2010.

The cheques were signed by Brown's manager, but were left blank and stored at his home in Baker Street, central London for use by his assistant.

After his arrest, Nigerian national Ayanbanjo told police: "I didn't steal the cheques from anyone."

In an excerpt of his interview read in court, he claimed Pavon-Navarrete asked him to cash the cheques as payment for building and repairing a sign for her shop, and then pay her back the balance.

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