Shaken Simon Cowell comes face-to-face with 'woman intruder who broke into his house armed with a brick and lay on his bed'
Leanne Zaloumis, 29, charged following the incident at 10.30pm on Saturday
Cowell was at home watching television at the time of the break-in
07:36 GMT, 26 March 2012
Simon Cowell was watching television at his London home when a break-in took place. A woman has tonight been charged following the incident at around 10.30pm on Saturday night
Simon Cowell last night told of his horror after coming face to face with a woman who broke into his mansion 'armed with a brick'.
In an astonishing security lapse, the intruder is believed to have wandered around the pop mogul’s West London home, even lying on his bed.
Cowell, 52, was said to be 'pretty shaken up' after the incident on Saturday night.
The woman is understood to have broken into the house through a downstairs window as the star was watching television in his lounge.
He told a friend: 'It was an absolutely terrifying experience. Seeing this woman standing there in my house was like something out of a horror movie.
'It was frightening but I’m going to take it as a warning. In some ways I’ve been lucky. You have to look on the positive side because it could have been a whole lot worse. I now know that I need to improve my security. She could have had a gun.'
It was initially believed by those close to Cowell that the intruder was an 'over-zealous fan.'
After getting into the 9million property – once described by Cowell as 'safe as the Bank of England' – the woman is said to have gone from room to room. According to a source, at one point she was 'lying on Simon’s bed in his bedroom'. She also managed to get into a bathroom.
The intruder was eventually detained by some of Cowell’s staff and security. Nothing is believed to have been taken from the property. Following the arrest, the police continued to search the grounds of the house.
Cowell (right) with his fellow Britain's Got Talent judges David Walliams, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden. It is believed that Cowell had just finished watching the ITV show when the break-in occured
Cowell – whose entertainment empire
includes Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor as well as stars Leona
Lewis and boy band One Direction – is estimated to be worth as much as
The incident took place just after
10pm, not long after the ITV screening of Cowell’s return to the judging
panel of Britain’s Got Talent.
One friend said: 'It was a frightening experience. Simon’s fine but shaken up. He didn’t expect something like that to happen.'
A Scotland Yard spokesman said:
'Police were called at approximately 22:35 on Saturday to reports of a
disturbance. Officers attended the address and found a woman had forced
entry to the premises. She was arrested on suspicion of burglary and
taken to a West London police station.'
Homebody: Cowell pictured outside his London home in 2010
'Freaked out': The TV judge, pictured in one of his Bentleys, suffered a previous security lapse in 2008 when his 140,000 luxury car was found to have been bugged with a magnetic tracking device
Cowell splits his time between homes
in London and Los Angeles. The address in the capital used to be the
French ambassador’s residence. Cowell bought it in 2005 for 5million.
He carried out huge renovations following the purchase to turn it into
his dream home.
The star spent much of last year in America, launching the U.S. X Factor.
However, since Christmas he has been
spending more time in the UK after returning to the panel of BGT. He
is currently in a ratings battle with new BBC1 show The Voice.
It is not the first serious security
lapse Cowell has suffered. In December 2008, Cowell was left 'completely
freaked out' after discovering that his car had been bugged.
He had called his full-time security
team in to investigate after he noticed a mysterious motorcyclist – clad
in a crash helmet and leathers – kept appearing outside the buildings
where his meetings were being held.
After experts swept his 140,000
Bentley Continental, they discovered that a tracker magnetically
attached to the car’s undercarriage.
A spokesman for Cowell yesterday said: 'This is a police matter.'
Last night police charged Leanne
Zaloumis, 29, from South East London, with one count of aggravated
burglary. She is due to appear before West London Magistrates’ Court