Ex-lover ‘did not know’ of armed robbery

Police in Sackville Street, Southsea, on Saturday. Picture: Tom Cotterill

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THE former mistress of a man accused of being among a gang of armed robbers who stole £550,000 of cash and goods knew nothing about his alleged crimes, a court heard.

Jolene Stevens told Winchester Crown Court she and Stewart Last had a five-and-a-half year affair that ended in February 2012.

Asked by prosecutor James Newton-Price what they talked about, Ms Stevens said: ‘Our personal relationship’.

She said she did not know what Last was on trial for and they ‘haven’t even discussed’ what Last did for a living.

Asked if he ever told her anything about his life, she replied: ‘No.’

Ms Stevens said Last visited her ‘quite a few times a week’ in November and December 2011 when some of the crimes took place and sometimes stayed at her Bracknell home in Berkshire.

Asked by Mr Newton-Price: ‘In five-and-a-half years haven’t you perhaps once been curious to find out what he has been doing?’

She replied: ‘No.’

When asked: ‘You haven’t had any conversations with him or anyone else about coming here to give him a possible alibi?’

She replied: ‘Absolutely not.’

Last, 29, of Filmer Road, Windsor, is jointly accused with Richard Loveridge, 28, of Ditton Road, Slough, and Andrew Smith, 27, of Montrose Avenue, Slough.

They are alleged to have stolen £240,000 in robberies at Nationwide in Park Parade, Leigh Park, Nationwide in West Street, Fareham, and a Farnborough Santander branch.

They are also accused of stealing £310,000 of cash, stock and high-performance cars and number places used in some of the burglaries and robberies.

The crimes are alleged to have taken place in Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Surrey between August 2011 and January 2012.

Lee Fitzgerald, 38, of Perrycroft, Windsor, is alleged to have hired a lock-up garage at a farm near Windsor used by the gang as a ‘base camp’.

The men each deny conspiracy to commit burglary conspiracy to commit robbery. (Proceeding)