Michael Winner’s widow yesterday told a court how she was violently attacked by her husband’s former lover who stole her jewellery worth as much as £300,000.
Geraldine Winner, 81, told a court she was ambushed by a former love rival who leapt on her when she opened the door to her £4million Knightsbridge penthouse to put the rubbish out.
Gurgana Gueorguieva, 48, wore a disguise including a wig as she lay in wait for hours before carrying out a vicious attack, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Michael and Geraldine at their home in West London before he passed away in January 2013
The assault was allegedly planned for two years by a spurned girlfriend who described Mrs Winner, then 77, as an ‘evil witch’ who had killed the filmmaker with her ‘voodoo dolls’, robbing her of a £100,000 inheritance.
Mrs Winner told of how she was blindfolded, her hands and feet were bound with cable ties and she was beaten over the head with an iron bar and a kettle by Gueorguieva who escaped with jewellery, art and cash worth up to £300,000.
The personal trainer, 48, later admitted robbery but claimed that she had ‘accidentally’ hit the pensioner with a kettle and a metal pole after she went to confront her about being cut out of the filmmaker’s will.
Details of the attack on October 9, 2015, emerged yesterday as the mother-of-one disputed details at a pre-sentencing hearing known as Newton hearing.
The court heard Gueorguieva had robbed Mrs Winner as ‘compensation’ after apparently losing out on an inheritance from the movie maker. Mrs Winner told the court of her ordeal: ‘I was pushed back into my flat and my face was straight down on to the [kitchen] counter.
‘I was held down and told some gibberish first of all I didn’t understand and then I said, “I don’t understand” and then this person said, ‘your sons Fabrice and Julian have sent me to kill you’. Because, she said, “they wished to inherit”.
‘She had a long iron pole… and I tried to get away and I went to grab her hair to push her against the wall and I thought she had a wig on and that’s when I realised it was a woman.
‘I think I was pushed to the ground. Then I tried to grab my kettle and hit her with it and then she got hold of that and hit me on the head and that’s when I saw stars.’
Mr Winner and Miss Gurgana Gueorguieva attending the Stella Artois Tennis Championships, back when she was using the false name Georgina Hristova
Mrs Winner said she was hit at least four times with the kettle before the woman stood on her, fracturing a rib, and demanded: ‘Where’s the heart-shaped diamond?’ Terrified, the pensioner told her where the safe was and Gueorguieva grabbed a number of items including a diamond pendant and a painting of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice by Franz Richard Unterberger.
Mrs Winner said: ‘Anything just to get rid of her. She tied me up a bit later.’
As she left, her assailant said: ‘Don’t ring the police otherwise you’ll have to look over your shoulder for the rest of your life’.
Mrs Winner was left with deep wounds on either side of her head and one to the back of her head which required 30 stitches. She believes that the rollers in her hair at the time of the attack prevented more serious injuries.
She managed to get hold of a pair of scissors from a kitchen drawer and free herself before calling police. When Gueorguieva was interviewed she admitted she had planned the robbery.
Miss Gueorguieva is alleged to have tied Mrs Winner up and beaten her with an iron pole as she robbed the house for ‘compensation’ for the inheritance she felt cheated out of
Gueorguieva said she had told Mrs Winner she was an ‘evil witch’ who had ‘voodoo dolls’. But she denied hitting the pensioner on the head with a metal pole.
She said she first met Geraldine Winner while she was walking with the director after she came out of a restaurant where she had a meal with celebrity chef Marco Pierre White and his wife in 2001 – a year before their love affair ended.
Yesterday she told the court the robbery ‘was for compensation’ after she was lost out on £100,000 she thought she would inherit.
She said: ‘It was never my intention to cause any physical harm to her at all. I was very careful not to do so, but it ended up that way accidentally because she was fighting quite hard.’
The prosecutor said the value of the goods taken ranged between £100,000 to £300,000. She disputes this, saying it is only £50,000. Gueorguieva was captured on CCTV entering the apartment block at around 7pm on the night of the raid and not leaving until 1am the following morning.
The Mail can reveal Gueorguieva once competed with Mrs Winner for her husband’s affections and claimed to have rubbed shoulders with stars during their three-year affair between 1999 and 2002.
Gueorguieva, of Holland Park, west London, has so far admitted to one count of robbery within a dwelling but states she only stole items worth up to £50,000
Shortly after Mr Winner’s death in 2013 of cancer, Gueorguieva contacted newspapers claiming she had been a single mum living on benefits when the flamboyant film director and restaurant critic swept her off her feet into his world of Hollywood glamour.
Using the pseudonym Georgina Hristova, she claimed to have met stars including Madonna, Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Shirley Bassey and Simon Cowell, who apparently became a friend.
The Bulgarian-British national said Rod Stewart met her at one A-list event and told Mr Winner: ‘You should stick with this one.’ But he married Geraldine in 2011.
Gueorguieva, of Holland Park, West London, has admitted one count of robbery within a dwelling. The hearing continues.