Gang members found guilty over 'ruthlessly executed' robberies and burglaries

Kurt Dilkes (L) the stolen tiara (R) Credit: PA/supplied

Six gang members have been found guilty of committing a series of "ruthlessly executed" robberies and burglaries, including the theft of a diamond tiara worth £3.5 million.

Kurtis Dilks, 35, has also been convicted of being part of a four-strong gang who smashed into the home of former England footballer Ashley Cole - and threatened to cut his fingers off.

Ex-Arsenal, Chelsea and Derby County defender Cole told police he “knew now I am going to die” as he recalled how the masked raiders tied his hands behind his back despite him holding his young daughter in January 2020.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how Dilks was the only one of the gang responsible for the robbery to be caught after his DNA was recovered on the cable ties used to restrain Cole and his partner Sharon Canu.

Kurtis Dilks, 35, has been convicted at Nottingham Crown Court Credit: PA/Handout

Dilks claimed his DNA was found on the ties and a knife recovered from the scene in Fetcham, Surrey, because they were items previously stolen from his van.

He was convicted alongside five others for their roles in a string of robberies and burglaries between October 2018 and January 2020.

The tiara, which was worn to the coronation of Edward VII, is alleged to have been taken from The Portland Collection Gallery on The Welbeck Estate in Worksop on Tuesday, November 20, 2018.

During the trial, Nottingham Crown Court heard the theft of the Portland Tiara and associated brooch was a "shocking event" and it will never again be seen in its original state.

Nottingham Crown Court heard the jewellery collection would never again be seen in its original state Credit: Nottinghamshire Police/PA

What were the items stolen and the value of them?

  • Three Chanel handbags - £11k

  • Two Hermes handbags - bought at £45k

  • Two small Louis Vuitton handbags - £4.5k

  • 10 Louis Vuitton travel bags - £7k

  • Two Louis Vuitton suitcases - £5k

  • Rolex watch - £24k

  • Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch - £36k

  • Patek Philippe watch - £110k

  • Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ladies - £40k

  • Wedding band - £2-3k

  • Engagement ring 4 carat oval diamond - £121k

  • Eternity ring - £3k

  • Diamond tennis bracelet - £6k

  • Rolex watch - £8k

  • Diamond necklaces - £2k

  • Engagement ring - £17-18k

  • FA Cup runners up medal

  • Two Audemars Piguet watches - £18-40k

The tiara

The Portland Tiara Credit: Handout

The Portland Tiara is a diamond-encrusted gold and silver item made for Winfred, Duchess of Portland to wear at the coronation of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1902.

The heirloom was made by Cartier. The centre-piece of the tiara is the Portland Diamond, which dates from the 19th century.

It is flanked by two diamond drops and other pendant diamonds, all set in gold and silver.

Who are the defendants and what are the verdicts?

Adrian Eddishaw, 34, of Northall Avenue, Bulwell, Matthew Johnson, 34, of Kingsthorpe Close, Mapperley, Darren Stokes, 35, of Staunton Drive, Sherwood and Gordon Thornhill, 48, of Mosswood Crescent, Arnold were all found not guilty of their alleged involvement in the incident.

The verdicts were:

  • Ashley Cumberpatch, 35, formerly of First Avenue, Carlton; found guilty on 11 charges.

  • Andrew MacDonald, 40, formerly of Woodstock Avenue, Nottingham; found guilty on 11 charges.

  • Adrian Eddishaw, 32, of Northall Avenue, Bulwell; found not guilty on two charges.

  • Matthew Johnson, 34, of Kingsthorpe Close, Mapperley; found not guilty on two charges.

  • Kurtis Dilks, 33, of Whitegate Vale, Clifton; found guilty on 13 charges.

  • Tevfik Guccuk, 39 of Houndsden Road, Southgate, London; found guilty on five charges.

  • Sercan Evsin, 25, of Meadow Close, Barnett; found guilty on four charges.

  • Darren Stokes, 35, of Staunton Drive, Sherwood; found not guilty on one charge.

  • Christopher Yorke, 49, of Rose Ash Lane, Arnold; found guilty on one charge.

  • Gordon Thornhill, 48, of Mosswood Crescent, Arnold; found not guilty on one charge.

Cumberpatch, MacDonald and Dilks were all found guilty of conspiracy to burgle at the Harley Gallery, which they denied.

Cumberpatch, MacDonald and co-defendants Christopher Yorke, Tevfik Guccuk and Sercan Evsin were also found guilty of converting criminal property in relation to the stolen items.