Masked raiders who broke into home of Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish threatened to 'stab him up' in front of children

3 January 2023, 19:09 | Updated: 3 January 2023, 23:12

Thieves who broke into the house of Olympian Mark Cavendish stole two valuable watches among other items and threatened to 'stab him up' in front of his kids.
Thieves who broke into the house of Olympian Mark Cavendish stole two valuable watches among other items and threatened to 'stab him up' in front of his kids. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle DeWolfe

Masked raiders who broke into the home of Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish threatened to 'stab him up in front of his children' during the knifepoint robbery, a court has heard.

Described as a 'carefully planned robbery', the terrifying break-in took place at athlete's home in the Ongar area of Essex during the early hours of November 27, 2021.

The court heard how the couple, who were in bed at the time of the incident, were awoken to noises at around 2.35am, with Cavendish's wife, Petra, initially suspecting it was their eldest son.

The intruders then fled with two pricey Richard Mille watches, valued at £300,000 and £400,000 respectively.

Appearing at Chelmsford Crown Court, Romario Henry, 31, and Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, are accused of illegally entering the athlete's home armed with knives.

The two men pleaded not guilty in court to two counts, each of robbery, in connection with a break-in.

The couple were subjected to a terrifying ordeal after the two masked knifemen entered their Essex home.
The couple were subjected to a terrifying ordeal after the two masked knifemen entered their Essex home. Picture: Alamy

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The court heard how Cavendish's wife Peta then ventured downstairs as the athlete was 'recovering from a number of injuries at the time', before fleeing back after noticing a number of figures running towards her in the darkness.

After shouting at her husband to go back in the bedroom, Mrs Cavendish then attempted to hide their three-year-old son under duvets as the two knifemen ransacked their home.

Attempting to call police, the masked raiders are said to have 'grabbed the phone' from Mrs Cavendish before she protested her call hadn't reached the emergency services.

Prosecutor Mr Renvoize explained how some of the raiders 'jumped on' Cavendish and 'began punching him and telling him to turn the alarm off'.

'One produced a knife and threatened to stab him up in front of his children,' he said.

'At this point there were three in the room and they began asking where the watches were.

'There was a safe in the room and he was ordered to open it.

'When he tried the battery appeared to have gone dead.

Star athlete Mark Cavendish was threatened by the masked knifemen at his Essex home
Star athlete Mark Cavendish was threatened by the masked knifemen at his Essex home. Picture: Alamy

Described as a "well-orchestrated and well-executed planned invasion of the home", Mr Renvoize said the group had conducted the raid with "the intention of grabbing high-value timepieces". 

Mr Renvoize said the cyclist's wife was asked for "the watch", with Cavendish then pointing to the timepiece on the windowsill. 

"One of the intruders said 'that's not it'," said the prosecutor.

The court heard how it appeared that two cars were used during the raid, with the prosecutor noting all four member of the group who appeared on the CCTV footage had a "specific role" to play.

Misplacing Mrs Cavendish's phone outside the front of the property, police then discovered the presence of DNA which was traced back to 28-year-old Ali Sesay, of Rainham, east London.

Mr Renvoize told the court that Sesay had "pleaded guilty to the offence of robbery already".

The court heard how it appeared that two cars were used during the raid, with the prosecutor noting all four member of the group who appeared on the CCTV footage had a "specific role" to play.
The court heard how it appeared that two cars were used during the raid, with the prosecutor noting all four member of the group who appeared on the CCTV footage had a "specific role" to play. Picture: Alamy

 Describing Cavendish as a "rather successful cyclist" and his wife Peta as a "successful model and media personality", Mr Renvoize said the couple were subjected to a "knifepoint robbery" using "large knives".

Noting the gang had concealed their identities with balaclavas, he added the two accused "meted out violence to Mark Cavendish".

'It's quite clear the assailants were interested in obtaining watches and once they got the watches they left the premises with very little else,' said Mr Renvoize. 

The trial continues at Chelmsford Crown Court and is expected to last two weeks

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