Robbers threatened to stab cyclist Mark Cavendish 'in front of his children', court told

Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta were threatened at their home in Essex.
Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta were robbed at knifepoint at home in Essex. Credit: PA

Robbers threatened to stab cyclist Mark Cavendish "in front of his children" during a raid at his home in Essex, a court heard.

The intruders made off with two Richard Mille watches, valued at £400,000 and £300,000, during the robbery near Ongar, Chelmsford Crown Court was told.

Cavendish and his wife Peta were in bed with their three-year-old child when they were awoken by noise in the early hours of November 27, 2021.

Barrister Edward Renvoize, opening the prosecution case, said that Cavendish thought the noise was "male voices and people walking around in the house".

"Because Mr Cavendish was recovering from a number of injuries at the time it was Mrs Cavendish who got up and went to investigate what they had heard," Mr Renvoize said.

"Her first thought was perhaps her older son had got up and may have knocked something over downstairs."

He said Peta heard male voices that appeared to be coming from the kitchen area.

"She was next aware of figures of people running towards her," said the barrister. "She ran back up the stairs shouting for her husband to get back into the bedroom."

Two Richard Mille watches worth a total of around £700,000 were stolen in the robbery. Credit: PA

Mr Renvoize said that she got back into the bedroom and Cavendish looked for a "panic alarm that he had".

Mr Renvoize said that 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," said the prosecutor.

"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.

"He said there was nothing in it anyway as the couple had been burgled the year before and everything had been taken.

"He was repeatedly asked where the other safe was."

Mr Renvoize said Cavendish told the intruders there was no other safe.

"Mrs Cavendish during this time was looking after her three-year-old child," he said.

"She was keeping her three-year-old son under the duvet to prevent him seeing the ordeal in the bedroom."

Mr Renvoize said Peta was "asked for the watch" and Cavendish "pointed to his watch on the windowsill".

"One of the intruders said 'that's not it'," said the prosecutor, who added that it was a Richard Mille watched valued at £400,000.

He said that Peta's watch, also a Richard Mille and valued at £300,000, was also taken.

Tour de France cyclist Mark Cavendish was robbed at home in Essex. Credit: PA

Mr Renvoize said that before the raid, CCTV cameras had captured cars driving past the home in what "appeared to be a reconnaissance mission" of the semi-rural location.

He said a vehicle then pulled up and turned off the lights and "four individuals" were seen on camera making their way closer into the property.

He said that Peta Cavendish's phone had been taken by the robbers and was later found by police and forensically examined.

They found DNA on the phone which was attributed to 28-year-old Ali Sesay, of Holding Street, Rainham, east London.

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

He said that police "were able to identify a number of other individuals who appeared to have been in communication with a telephone belonging to Mr Sesay".

Romario Henry, 31, of Bell Green, Lewisham, south-east London and 28-year-old Oludewa Okorosobo, of Flaxman Road, Camberwell, south London, both deny two counts of robbery and are on trial.

The trial, estimated to last around two weeks, continues.

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