Career criminal mowed down and killed father, 52, just ten days after breaking into Simon Cowell’s west London mansion in £1million jewellery raid

A serial offender has been found guilty of a £1million raid on Simon Cowell’s home as the music mogul and his family slept and his security guard used the toilet.

Darren February broke into the five-bedroom property in upmarket Holland Park, West London, through a patio door and stole jewellery and two passports.

Just ten days after he burgled the X Factor supremo’s home in December 2015, he hit 52-year-old father and motorcyclist Kenneth Baldwin with a car and killed him.

Darren February (left, in a police mugshot released today) has been found guilty of a £1million raid on the home of Simon Cowell (right) as the music mogul and his family slept

The 33-year-old was jailed last year for eight-and-a-half years for causing death by dangerous driving not far from Cowell’s home.

February had already been convicted of 37 burglaries, repeatedly targeting the wealthy areas of Kensington and Bayswater which provided ‘rich pickings’, prosecutor Denis Barry said.

When he broke into Cowell’s house on December 4 he was on licence for other burglaries and public order offences.

He has committed 58 offences spanning two decades, and was first convicted aged just 12.

February broke into the five-bedroom property in upmarket Holland Park, West London, through a patio door and stole jewellery and two passports February (pictured left in a previous mugshot; and right on CCTV in relation to the Cowell burglary) has committed 58 offences spanning two decades, and was first convicted aged 12

The jury of nine men and three women took less than an hour to find him guilty at Isleworth Crown Court following a four-day trial.

Cowell explained the safe had been left open to allow his partner Lauren Silverman to ‘quietly get her jewellery’ ahead of a flight

He shook his head in disagreement as the verdict was returned.

His DNA was found on gloves dropped on his escape from the scene, and on a handprint on a wall at the property, where Cowell has lived for 10 years.

February was identified by a security worker as he fled, and later by police who were aware of his ‘prolific’ sprees on previous occasions.

Giles Newell, defending, said his client had been caught up in a case of mistaken identity, but February did not provide an alibi and opted not to give evidence to the court.

On one of the days he refused to leave prison to come to court and the trial went ahead in his absence.

It emerged during the proceedings that Cowell’s security worker Simon Williams concluded he must have been using the bathroom when the burglary took place.

He rejected a suggestion made to the media by Cowell shortly after the raid that it could have been an ‘inside job’.

Cowell told the court how diamond rings worth £500,000 were stolen in the raid.

In a statement read to the jury he said: ‘My son and his nanny were in their bedroom on the second floor and our security guard Simon Williams was in his office on the ground floor. There is a large safe within a wardrobe.

‘Myself and Lauren went to bed at 12:30 on the morning of the burglary, and I believe that my nanny and son were already asleep.

Cowell was asleep at the time with partner Silverman (right) and their son Eric (centre), three

‘I next remember being woken by Simon Williams who said here had been an incident in the property, we had been robbed and should stay in the room.

‘Lauren and myself had then asked about my son and we were very concerned about making sure he was alright.

Cowell, pictured with Ms Silverman at the Brits last week, said he was ‘very concerned’ about making sure his son was OK

‘Our safe had been open and items had been taken. Lauren was flying abroad that morning and she wanted to quietly get her jewellery.

‘The security guard came to me and told me my passports and brown 1920 attache case had been recovered and I realised it had been taken.’

Cowell said among the jewellery taken were watches worth £200,000, diamond rings worth £500,000, diamond earrings valued at £220,000 and diamond bracelets worth £50,000.

Most of the items have not been recovered. He added: ‘No one has the right or authority to steal from Lauren or myself and I will go to court if required.’

One of the stolen passports was dropped nearby and recovered that morning, while another was found at a recycling facility in Wandsworth and handed to police.

Some of the jewellery was recovered at the scene but it is understood most of it was not returned. February will be sentenced at the same court on Wednesday.

Detective Sergeant James Howarth, investigating officer, said: ‘Darren February is a danger to society with numerous convictions under his belt.

‘It must have been terrifying for the occupants to imagine someone was inside their home while they slept, particularly with a young child in the house.

‘I’d like to commend my colleagues for their excellent skills in recognising February and also the forensic scientist and prosecuting counsel who acted so ably in this case. The local security guard should also be highly praised for his actions that night.’

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