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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Millionaire banker sues security installer for French villa break-in

The court heard that Mr Pearce refused to carry out any more work until he had been paid up front.

In Nov 2019, the break-in occurred and Mr Pearce emailed the couple shortly afterwards saying he would not be doing any further work for them.

The barrister said that the burglary involved “the disabling and removal of the security system, door entry system and Sonance speakers supplied and/or installed by the defendants”.

‘The intruder was able to remotely access, disable and delete the library of CCTV recordings’

“Nothing was taken except items installed by Mr Pearce,” he said.

“The intruder was also able to remotely access, disable and delete the library of CCTV recordings,” he added.

“It is the claimants’ case that Mr Pearce was the only person capable of erasing the direct evidence of the perpetrator committing the break-in.”

He said the basis of Mr Pearce’s defence is that Mrs Ritossa had “some sort of mental breakdown causing her to invent the matters that form the subject of this claim”.

He added that the “attacks” against Mrs Ritossa go “far beyond anything that could be considered necessary or even relevant”.

However, Rowan Pennington-Benton, representing Mr Pearce, denied the claim and said that there was no direct evidence to suggest Mr Pearce was behind the raid.

“Mr Pearce vehemently and wholeheartedly denies this and views this claim as an unmeritorious, intimidatory tactic by wealthy property owners who have wrongly formed the view that he has broken into their property,” he said.

“The defendants categorically deny these allegations and submit that a sophisticated intrusion and burglary of the claimants’ property, in a foreign country, as a result of unpaid invoices in the sum of £7,820.16, is outlandish and speculative.”

He added: “It is clear from inter-party correspondence and the evidence filed that Mrs Ritossa in particular holds a very dim view of Mr Pearce, what might be called a ‘grudge’.”

The case was adjourned.

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