A masked raider who threatened to cut off former England footballer Ashley Cole’’s fingers with pliers in a terrifying knifepoint robbery has also been found guilty of being part of a gang that stole £3.5million Portland Diamond tiara alongside two other thugs.
Kurtis Dilks, 35, was part of a group that tied Mr Cole’s hands behind his back in front of his children in a raid at the footballer’s £3million mansion in Fetcham, Surrey on January 21 2020.
He was convicted at Nottingham Crown Court today for tying footballer Mr Cole and his girlfriend up with cable ties at his £3million mansion in Fetcham, Surrey.
Mr Cole told the trial that he felt that he was “going to die” during the attack, in which the gang smashed into his house with a sledgehammer.
The intruders ran away when they were alerted to the presence of police.
Nottingham Crown Court heard how Kurtis Dilks was caught after his DNA was recovered on the cable ties used to restrain Cole and his partner Sharon Canu, while their children were home.
The court was previously shown CCTV of the intruders leading the former England defender up and down the stairs, before they made off with watches, mobile phones, cash, a Gucci bag, headphones and a BMW smart key.
Prosecutor Michael Brady QC said told the court Mr Cole and his partner had settled down to watch a film but were alerted to the intruders when they heard a noise from outside the front of the house.
Mr Cole checked his CCTV system and told Ms Canu to call 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.”
Mr Brady said Ms Canu became increasingly concerned after she spotted one of the intruders with a “huge hammer” as Mr Cole was taken from the bedroom by the robbers.
The man demanded jewellery and ‘kettles’, which is slang for watches, and wanted to know where the safe was.
When Mr Cole told him that he didn’t have anything, the man grabbed the back of his neck and squeezed it, the court heard.
Mr Brady QC said Ms Canu “rather bravely” initially refused to have her hands bound before she relented when threatened with a knife.
Throughout the ordeal, Mr Cole recalled hearing one of the attackers, a stocky more aggressive man who also spoke with an Irish accent and was armed with a pair of pliers, repeating “let’s cut his fingers”.
“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,” Mr Brady QC said.
The court heard the robbers then demanded bleach and cleaning products, before one “sprayed Mr Cole’s hands with Febreze”.
The gang fled after one shouted “police”.
In his defence, Dilks claimed his DNA was found on the cable 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 “ruthlessly executed” robberies and burglaries between October 2018 and January 2020.
Dilks alongside Ashley Cumberpatch and Andrew MacDonald – was also today found guilty of the theft of the Portland Tiara, a £3.5 million tiara worn to the coronation of Edward VII, which has never been recovered.
The court heard the 2018 theft of the ‘national treasure’ and its associated brooch, from the Harley Gallery on the Welbeck Estate in Worksop, was a ‘shocking event’ and they will never again be seen in their original state.