Police hunting the armed gang who robbed Kim Kardashian of millions of pounds worth of jewellery have discovered a vital clue.
A gemstone dropped outside the Paris hotel where she was targeted could provide vital DNA evidence in an investigation which has so far made little progress, despite being the centre of global media interest.
"A piece of stolen jewellery was found close to the block, and was presumably dropped by the gang," a source close to the investigation revealed. "It suggests that the criminals may have made mistakes because they were in such a hurry."
The news came as the 35-year-old reality TV star filed a £4.5 million (NZ$7.8 million) insurance claim for the stolen items, including a £3.2 million engagement ring presented to her by rapper husband Kanye West. She is also set to seek a fortune in compensation to cover trauma and lost earnings, the Daily Mail reports.
The source confirmed that Kardashian "is beginning civil action in order to recover losses".
The star left France on a private plane within hours of the crime in the early hours of Monday morning. She says she had a gun pointed to her head, and was tied up and gagged by the raiders, who posed as police.
An unidentified French concierge was the only other direct witness, and says he suffered the same fate as Kardashian.
French authorities are privately concerned that Kardashian left Paris so soon after her ordeal, and admit that questions are mounting about the security that night.
There was no sign of forced entry, and no apparent reason why anybody would have allowed unidentified men entry in the middle of the night without checking their alleged police credentials.
The assailants were said to be white, middle-aged Frenchmen who arrived and left by bicycle, and may have been caught on CCTV. Yet, almost a week later, no images have been released, and no explanation has been offered for this.
Kardashian said she was able to "wriggle out" of hand ties, before screaming from a balcony, but neighbours have told police they heard nothing.
Her spokesman did not respond to requests for comment last night.
Six questions the police are still asking
1. Why was Kim Kardashian in a flat with £4.5 million (NZ$7.8 million) of jewellery without any security guards?
2. How could there have only been one night porter on duty at a luxury residential building where stars stay?
3. Why was Kardashian left unattended by her bodyguard Pascal Duvier, who was at a nightclub. And how did the robbers know he was away?
4. Why was Kardashian allowed to leave France just hours after the crime, rather than remain for inquiries?
5. How did the gang flee without being seen by anyone apart from Kardashian and the porter? And why no CCTV images?
6. How did Kardashian and the porter provide descriptions of raiders who were said to be wearing masks?