Raiders demanded 'Where are the watches?' before £700k robbery at Mark Cavendish's home

Olympic and Tour de France cyclist Mark Cavendish pictured before a race. Credit: PA

Knife-wielding attackers broke into Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish's home and demanded "Where are the watches?" before making off with two timepieces worth £700,000, a court heard.

A panicked 999 call made by the rider's wife Peta Cavendish to police was played in court on Tuesday.

Balaclava-wearing intruders broke into Cavendish’s home as he was asleep upstairs with his wife Peta with their three-year-old child also in the bed, Chelmsford Crown Court was told.

One of the raiders held a Rambo knife to the athlete’s throat and threatened to stab him before the gang made off with items including two Richard Mille watches, valued at £400,000 and £300,000, the trial heard.

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

They are accused of robbing Cavendish of a watch, phone and safe, and of robbing the athlete’s wife of a watch, phone and Louis Vuitton suitcase from the address in Ongar, Essex, on 27 November 2021.

Peta and Mark Cavendish were held up at knifepoint during a robbery at their home, the court has heard. Credit: PA

In a 999 call lasting seven minutes and 16 seconds, played to jurors on Tuesday, Mrs Cavendish told a police call handler there had been “five men in the house – they had knives”.

In the call made at 2.35am, she said she had heard a noise downstairs, “said ‘hello’, they came rushing upstairs into the room with knives”.

“They were just shouting ‘where are the watches? Where are the watches?’"

Mrs Cavendish said in the call that the intruders made her husband lie on the floor and she was in bed covering her three-year-old with the duvet.

She said: “They took the dummy safe that was there. I think they took my suitcase, they took that – that was empty.

“They took my husband’s watch. I’m looking now – I think they must have taken my watch from somewhere.”

She said that before the raiders left “they held a knife and made my husband open the gate”.

She said the intruders wore balaclavas, adding: “They were all male, one of them was black.”

Mrs Cavendish said in the call that the intruders “hit Mark in the face” and “he was OK but he’d only just come out of hospital”.

“They were looking for something particular as they said ‘that’s not the watch we came for’,” she said.

It was previously suggested in court that the intruders were looking for a different watch.

During the call, Mrs Cavendish said: “My husband is a well-known athlete so they could have seen it.”

The two watches stolen from the Cavendish household were worth a total of £700,000. Credit: Essex Police

In an audio recording played to jurors, from body-worn footage from a police officer who attended the address, Cavendish says: “We were in bed and they’ve come screaming.”

In the recording, in which an alarm can be heard, Mrs Cavendish tells the officer: “The alarm wasn’t on as I forgot to put it on and I came upstairs.”

After they took the dummy safe, the intruders were "starting to panic a bit,” Mrs Cavendish said. “They were saying ‘there must be money’. I was saying ‘there isn’t anything’.”

Referring to Cavendish’s watch, his wife said in the recording: “Where it had an elastic strap, I think it threw them.

“It’s still a watch that they would definitely want but it wasn’t what they had in their head.”

Ali Sesay, 28, of Holding Street, Rainham, Kent, admitted two counts of robbery at an earlier hearing, and the trial was previously told that his DNA was found on Mrs Cavendish’s phone, which was taken and found outside the property.

Two other men, Jo Jobson and George Goddard, have been named as suspects in the case but have not been apprehended by police.

The trial continues.

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