Robber threatened to cut Ashley Cole's fingers off during violent break-in, court hears

11 April 2022, 19:33

Ashley Cole, from whom thousands of pounds of items were stolen by violent robbers in a series of "ruthlessly executed" burglaries, a court has heard.
Ashley Cole, from whom thousands of pounds of items were stolen by violent robbers in a series of "ruthlessly executed" burglaries, a court has heard. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

An aggressive robber threatened to cut former England footballer Ashley Cole's fingers off with pliers during a violent break-in at his home, a court has heard.

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Kurtis Dilks, 34, is accused of being part of a four-strong gang who in January 2020 smashed their way into the home of the former England defender.

He is alleged to have robbed Mr Cole and his partner Sharon Canu of watches, mobile phones, cash, a Gucci bag, headphones and a BMW smart key, before fleeing the scene.

The couple's children were also in the house at the time of the break-in, with Ms Canu being forced to hide in a wardrobe as she tried to call police.

Nottingham Crown Court was told the ex-Arsenal, Chelsea and Derby County left-back was cable-tied and led around the house in just a pair of shorts during the ordeal.

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Jurors were told Mr Cole and his partner Sharon Canu both had their hands bound by black cable ties, and the court was shown CCTV of the intruders leading the former England defender up and down the stairs.

Prosecutor Michael Brady QC said: "During the evening of Tuesday January 21 2020, Ms Canu was at home with their two young children.

"Mr Cole returned home at about 9.30pm when they settled down upstairs to watch a film.

"Within a few minutes Mr Cole and Ms Canu heard a noise from outside the front of the house and placed the TV on mute to hear what it was.

"Mr Cole described the noise as vibrating up the walls into the bedroom and was sufficiently concerned that he checked the view of household security cameras on the app he had on his mobile telephone.

"The robbers were clearly not deterred by his presence."

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Mr Brady said one of the gang members stripped Ms Canu of her phone as she attempted to call police while hiding in a wardrobe.

She was then shown to the bedroom where Mr Cole was being kept on his knees with his hands tied behind his back, the prosecutor said.

Mr Brady said Ms Canu became increasingly concerned after she spotted one of the intruders with a "huge hammer" as Mr Cole was taken from the bedroom by the robbers.

He said the robbers were making demands for jewellery from Mr Cole and where the safes were.

One of them brandished a knife when Ms Canu refused to have her hands bound, the court heard.

The Crown's QC continued: "By this stage Mr Cole's hands were also bound behind his back with similar cable ties.

"Mr Cole was then picked up by his arms. He saw how distressed his family was.

"Mr Cole mentioned that one of the attackers, a stocky more aggressive man who also spoke with an Irish accent, kept saying 'let's cut his fingers'.

"At the time he was armed with a pair of pliers.

"Despite the efforts of the stocky robber to attack him with pliers, the robber who Mr Cole described as the 'boss man', the one who had first approached him in his bedroom and grabbed his neck, prevented the attack from going ahead."

The court heard the robbers fled after one shouted "police".

Dilks is standing trial accused of robbing Mr Cole and Ms Canu, as well as allegedly raiding the home of former Tottenham Hotspur and Derby County midfielder Tom Huddlestone with co-defendants Ashley Cumberpatch and Andrew MacDonald.

Mr Brady said Dilks's DNA was found on a black-handled knife and a black cable tie which were discovered during a search of Mr Cole's home.

Dilks, of Whitegate Vale, Clifton, Nottingham, faces three charges of conspiracy to commit burglary, four charges of converting criminal property, three charges of conspiracy to commit robbery and two counts of robbery.

Cumberpatch, his partner Kelly Duong, MacDonald, Matthew Johnson, Adrian Eddishaw, Darren Stokes, Christopher Yorke, Gordon Thornhill, Tevfik Guccuk, and Sercan Evsin are also on trial for their alleged part in the series of "ruthlessly executed" burglaries.

The trial continues.