Michael Winner’s ex-partner jailed for robbing his widow
Gurgana Gueorguieva subjected Geraldine Winner to a three-hour ordeal at her Knightsbridge home in October 2015.
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, Gueorguieva, 48, hit and restrained Mrs Winner with plastic cable ties before stealing jewellery, cash and art, leaving her with three deep cuts to the head as well as a broken rib and finger.
She confessed to taking the goods with a total value of 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 euro, 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 commence the robbery.
Gueorguieva, of Russell Road, Holland Park, argued the injuries were inflicted in self-defence while trying to get Mrs Winner to calm down.
On Friday Judge Peter Testar ruled Gueorguieva took the money but could not be sure that she brought the iron bar to the scene and found that she did not “gratuitously” cause Mrs Winner pain.
However, he acknowledged that Mrs Winner was seriously hurt and that Gueorguieva “became quite obsessed” with getting revenge on the widow.
The court heard she 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.
Gueorguieva, 48, had been in a relationship with Mr Winner between 1999 and 2002 and admitted she “disliked” Mrs Winner who married him in 2011.
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, later added: “She had a heartfelt feeling she had been wronged.”
Gueorguieva told the court she believed Mrs Winner had caused Michael Winner to remove her from his will before he died in 2013, rescinding a potential inheritance of £100,000.
She also claimed that Mrs Winner had used voodoo dolls to cause her late husband 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, and sentimental jewellery.
“There was serious physical and psychological impact to Mrs Winner,” he continued. “She suffered the lasting effects that one would expect from such an ordeal.”
As well as the prison sentence, Judge Testar also made an indefinite restraining order against Gueorguieva, banning her from going within 100 metres of Mrs Winner or places she is thought to be.