A thief threatened to cut off former England footballer Ashley Cole’s fingers with pliers during a violent break-in at his home, a court has heard.
Nottingham Crown Court heard the former Arsenal, Chelsea and Derby County left-back was led into the house in just shorts as intruders demanded jewelery in January 2020.
Kurtis Dilks, 34, is accused of being part of a four-person gang who forced their way into Mr Cole’s house with a hammer.
Jurors were told Mr Cole and his partner Sharon Canu both had their hands tied with black cable ties, and court was shown on CCTV of intruders leading the former England defender down the stairs.
Watches, mobile phones, cash, a Gucci bag, headphones and a BMW smart key were all stolen in the break-in, the court heard.
Dilks is 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.
Opening the case against Dilks, prosecutor Michael Brady QC said: “On the evening of Tuesday January 21, 2020, Ms Canu was at home with their two young children.
“Mr Cole got home around 9.30pm when they went upstairs to watch a movie.
“Within minutes, Mr. Cole and Ms. Canu heard a noise from outside the house and muted the TV to hear what it was.
“Mr Cole described the noise as vibrating the walls in the bedroom and was concerned enough to check the view of home security cameras on the app he had on his mobile phone.
“The thieves were obviously not deterred by his presence.”
Mr Brady said Mr Cole told his partner to call the police, which she did after hiding in a wardrobe.
The prosecutor continued: ‘The next thing Ms Canu knew was when one of the thieves opened the wardrobe door and took the phone from her while she was talking to the police.
“Ms Canu… followed the intruder and was directed without a word by the man who had taken her phone from the bedroom where Mr Cole was.
“She then saw Mr. Cole on his knees with his hands tied behind his back.”
He continued: “Mr. Cole noticed that one of the men, who was coming straight at him, was speaking in an Irish accent and almost immediately started manipulating him.
“The man asked for jewelry and ‘kettles’, which is slang for watches, and wanted to know where the safe was.
“When Mr. Cole told him he had nothing, the man grabbed the back of his neck and squeezed it.
“Mr. Cole’s head was pushed further forward and he was told to put his hands behind his back, at which point he became aware of Ms. Canu at the bedroom door.”
Mr Brady told jurors that Ms Canu’s hands were then bound with black cable ties.
The Crown QC continued: ‘At this point Mr Cole’s hands were also tied behind his back with similar cable ties.
“Mr. Cole was then taken by the arms. He saw how grieved his family was.
“Mr Cole mentioned that one of the attackers, a more aggressive stocky man who also spoke in an Irish accent, kept saying ‘cut his fingers off’.
“At the time, he was armed with pliers.
“Despite the stocky thief’s best efforts to attack him with pliers, the thief whom Mr. Cole described as the ‘boss’, the one who had first approached him in his bedroom and grabbed his neck, prevented the attack to continue.”
Mr Brady said the thieves then demanded bleach and cleaning products, before one of them ‘sprayed Mr Cole’s hands with Febreze’.
The court heard the thieves fled after one of them shouted “police”.
Mr Brady said Dilks’ DNA was found on a black-handled knife and black cable tie discovered during a search of Mr Cole’s home.
Dilks, of Whitegate Vale, Clifton, Nottingham, faces three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, four counts of converting criminal property, three counts of conspiracy to commit a 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 role in the series of “mercilessly executed” burglaries.
The trial continues.
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This notice was published: 2022-04-12 06:06:35