Published: 19:20, 18 May 2018
| Updated: 16:51, 19 May 2018
A man has admitted burglary after the home of a reality TV star was trashed and her expensive Mercedes car was stolen.
Nicholas Cato, 31, had denied any involvement in the break-in and theft but changed his pleas to guilty on the fourth day of the trial.
His co-accused, Jayd Gordon, 30, continued to deny the charges.
A jury at Maidstone Crown Court has heard how heads were chopped off Nicole Bass' soft toys on her bed and paint, food and other items were thrown around.
The glamorous 26-year-old TOWIE and Ex on the Beach personality was away on holiday when her flat in Dartford was broken into on June 9 last year.
She returned from Las Vegas earlier than planned at 10.30pm because of an accident.
Prosecutor Nina Ellin said Miss Bass arrived to find her rented flat at the new build in Creek Mill Way to find there had been “gratuitous ransacking”.
Miss Bass said of her car being missing from the underground parking: “I was just completely baffed (sic). I was thinking: Where has my car gone?”
She said of the damage caused to the second floor flat: “It was trashed. It wasn’t just as if they burgled my flat, they had absolutely violated it.”
She added she was so upset that they she immediately moved out and sold her £30,000 Mercedes GLA AMG.
After finding her car missing, Miss Bass saw her door was smashed in. A neighbour went with her into the flat and she found it was “a complete mess” and property including designer clothes, a Rolex watch and Pandora jewellery was missing.
“Clothes were strewn everywhere,” said Miss Ellin. “Paint had been thrown all over the bedroom, including the bed, walls and dressing room. On the bed, the heads of soft toys had been cut off.
“In the kitchen, all the cupboards had been emptied and food was thrown all over the floor. The sofa had been turned over in the living room and things had been thrown about.”
Miss Bass saw that the car keys she left on a table had been stolen.
Miss Ellin said the victim was a television personality with a social media following of about 500,000.
“She posted a photograph of herself while away on holiday,” she said. “The Crown suggests this burglary was professionally planned and targeted at her while she was not there.
“That fact would have been known to those involved.”
Automatic number plate recognition cameras were checked and it was found that the stolen car, in convoy with a VW Tiguan, was moving between Dartford and London on June 8 and 9.
The VW was stopped in Sydenham on June 13. Gordon was the driver and Cato a passenger. The car belonged to Gordon’s girlfriend.
The stolen Mercedes was found in Sydenham on June 23.
When arrested, both men denied being involved in the burglary. Cell site analysis showed their phones were in the area at the time.
Cato’s phone had pictures of some of the stolen clothes on it. Miss Ellin suggested they had been photographed so that they could be sold.
Cato, of Africa Road, Brockley, south London, and Jayd Gordon, of Braidwood Road, Catford, south east London, denied burglary and theft of the car when the trial started on Monday.
Sentence on Cato was adjourned for reports until June 25. Bail was continued.
Judge Philip St John-Stevens told jurors that the change in pleas had no bearing on Gordon’s guilt. He said of Cato: “It is simply a plea of guilty on his behalf, accepting his responsibility.”
Gordon’s trial continues on Monday.