London (AFP) – A robber threatened to cut off former England full-back Ashley Cole’s fingers with a pair of pliers during a violent break-in at his home, a court was told Monday.
Nottingham Crown Court heard Cole, 41, was led around the house in just a pair of shorts as intruders demanded jewellery in January 2020.
Kurtis Dilks, 34, is accused of being a member of a four-strong gang who smashed their way into Cole’s home with a sledgehammer.
Jurors were told Cole and his partner Sharon Canu each had their hands bound by cable ties, and the court was shown CCTV of the intruders leading Cole, who played for both Arsenal and Chelsea, down the stairs.
The court was told that among the items stolen during the break-in were cash, mobile phones and watches.
Dilks is accused of robbing Cole and Ms Canu, as well as allegedly raiding the home of former Tottenham and Derby midfielder Tom Huddlestone with co-defendants Ashley Cumberpatch and Andrew MacDonald.
Prosecuting lawyer Michael Brady said although Cole had been at home with his family “the robbers were clearly not deterred by his presence”.
He added 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 robbers 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 wordlessly by the man who had taken her phone to the bedroom where Mr Cole was.
“She then saw Mr Cole on his knees with his hands tied behind his back,” with the prosecutor adding one of the intruders was armed with a sledgehammer which the gang used to gain entry to the house by smashing down the doors.
After the gang had confronted Cole, Brady told jurors Canu’s hands were then bound together by black cable ties.
He said: “The man said, ‘Do you want that?’ – meaning the knife.”
Brady added: “By this stage Mr Cole’s hands were also bound behind his back with similar cable ties.
“Mr Cole mentioned that one of the attackers, a stocky more aggressive man who also spoke with an Irish accent, kept saying ‘let’s cut his fingers’.
“At the time he was armed with a pair of pliers.
“Despite the efforts of the stocky robber to attack him with pliers, the robber who Mr Cole described as the ‘boss man’, the one who had first approached him in his bedroom and grabbed his neck, prevented the attack from going ahead.”
The trial continues.
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