Ashley Cole ‘tied up with cable ties’ as robbers threatened to ‘cut his fingers off’ during ‘ruthless’ £500,000 raid

FORMER footballer Ashley Cole and his partner Sharon Canu were subjected to a terrifying knifepoint ordeal when a gang raided their home and threatened to “cut his fingers”.

Kurtis Dilks, 34, is alleged to have robbed former England defender mr cole40, and his partner Sharon Canu of watches, mobile phones, cash, a Gucci bag, headphones and a BMW smart key during a break-in at their home in Fetcham, Surrey, in January 2020.

Former England star Ashley Cole and his partner Sharon Canu suffered a break-in at their home in January 2020

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Former England star Ashley Cole and his partner Sharon Canu suffered a break-in at their home in January 2020Credit: Instagram
Tom Huddlestone was playing a game for Derby County when he was robbed

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Tom Huddlestone was playing a game for Derby County when he was robbedCredit: Rex
Ashley Cole and Sharon Canu had watches, mobile phones, cash, a Gucci bag, headphones and a stolen BMW smart key

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Ashley Cole and Sharon Canu had watches, mobile phones, cash, a Gucci bag, headphones and a stolen BMW smart keyCredit: BackGrid
Kurtis Dilks is also accused of being part of a six-strong gang who allegedly stole the £3.75m Portland Tiara from the Welbeck Estate in 2018

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Kurtis Dilks is also accused of being part of a six-strong gang who allegedly stole the £3.75m Portland Tiara from the Welbeck Estate in 2018Credit: PA:Press Association

Cole had his hands tied behind his back by the gang wearing camouflage clothing and demanded jewelery and watches – with one plier-wielding attacker suggesting: “Let’s cut his fingers”.

Cole’s hands were also ‘bizarrely’ doused with Febreze odor eliminator in an apparent bid to destroy DNA evidence, before the group of up to six men fled the home when police arrived.

Sharon Canu, Cole’s girlfriend, had managed to dial 999 when the couple realized they were being burgled as they watched a film together at around 9.30pm on January 21, 2020.

But until officers arrived, prosecutors detailed how the pair and their children – Grace and Jaxon – endured a “violent and ruthlessly executed” ordeal that saw Cole, wearing only a pair of shorts, bound with cable ties and forced to his knees in front of his family.

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Dilks, Ashley Cumberpatch and Andrew MacDonald are also accused of conspiring to rob Tom Huddlestone’s wife, Joanna Dixon, of £500,000 of jewelery and handbags, including her wedding and engagement rings in May 2019.

Jurors were told robbers tied Ms Dixon’s hands behind her back at her home in Caythorpe, Notts, with cable ties, with one allegedly saying: “Don’t make this difficult, we don’t want to manhandle you.”

Nottingham Crown Court heard that Dilks is also accused of being part of a six-strong gang who allegedly stole the £3.75million Portland Tiara from the Welbeck Estate in 2018.

The tiara was worn at the coronation of Edward VII.

Prosecutors said the theft of the tiara, previously described as a “national treasure”, was a “shocking event” and it will never again be seen in its original state.

Opening the case against 11 defendants on Monday, prosecutor Michael Brady QC told jurors the home of former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Mr Huddlestone was targeted in a “well-planned operation” while he was playing a match for Derby County.

Cole and Huddlestone played together at Derby in 2019.

Mr Brady said: “These defendants were to a greater or lesser extent involved in a series of extremely serious, high-profile, carefully planned and at times ruthlessly executed burglaries and violent robberies.

“Dilks continued this pattern when he was involved in the robberies of Ashley Cole, the footballer, and his partner Sharon Canu in January 2020.

“The presence of householders did not deter these defendants.

“They were armed with weapons and the means to subdue them.

“The presence of children did not disturb them.”

Mr Brady told jurors that property stolen during the burglaries and robberies was passed to professional handlers Tevfik Guccuk and Sercan Evsin, who were tasked with selling the items.

The Crown’s QC said: “Those responsible for this part of what was highly sophisticated criminal offending, Evsin and Guccuk, operated an ostensibly legitimate jewelery business in Hatton Garden.

“Such was the value and conspicuous nature of some of the stolen items that it was not possible to sell them in the UK.

‘HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED CRIMINAL OFFENDING’

“The inference to be drawn from the evidence is that at times the property had to be disposed of abroad.”

Addressing the theft of the tiara, Mr Brady said: “Stolen during the burglary were two pieces of diamond encrusted jewellery, the Portland Tiara and an associated brooch, with a combined value of approximately £3,750,000.

“The tiara and brooch formed part of the Portland Collection. It is difficult to overstate the importance and cultural value of these pieces of jewellery.

“Other works of art that formed part of the same collection included masterpieces by Michelangelo, van Dyck, Stubbs and a pearl earring worn by Charles I at his execution.

“These were trophy pieces of the gallery’s exhibition – extremely valuable, unique and of significant historical importance.

“They were displayed for the public’s enjoyment. Their theft is a shocking event and means that they will never again be seen in their original state.

“It is self-evident that burglaries of this nature require detailed and careful planning, including consideration of how to dispose of such unique pieces, an exercise that, to reduce the risk of detection to those who commit the burglary, is frequently undertaken as soon as possible after the property is stolen.

‘CAREFU PLANNING’

“As we will see, that is exactly what occurred here.”

The 6th Duke of Portland commissioned Cartier to create the Portland Tiara for his wife, Winifred, Duchess of Portland.

She wore the diamond-encrusted headpiece, whose centrepiece is the Portland Diamond, to the coronation of King Edward, the Queen’s great-grandfather, in 1902.

Cumberpatch, his partner Kelly Duong, MacDonald, Dilks, and fellow defendants Matthew Johnson and Adrian Eddishaw are all accused of conspiracy to burgle in relation to the theft of the tiara.

Mr Brady continued: “Each was wearing an outfit designed to prevent identification and eliminate the risk of leaving any scientific evidence at the scene: motorcycle helmets, boiler suits, overalls and gloves.

“Each was carrying a hand or power tool, used to gain entry to the gallery, vault and display case.

“Their sole target was undoubtedly the Portland Tiara and brooch. The three burglars immediately made for them. They weren’t interested in anything else.

“On any view, this was a professionally executed, well-planned offence.”

The defendants deny all charges.

The trial, which is expected to last up to 12 weeks, continues.

Diamond expert Tobias Kormind, the managing director of Europe’s largest online diamond jeweler 77 Diamondstold The Sun Online: “The diamonds on the Portland Tiara are believed to date back to between the 17th and 19th centuries and they are cut in an old-fashioned way, giving off far less sparkle than modern diamonds do.

“They are known as ‘old cut’ or ‘European cut’ diamonds.

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“It was only in 1919 that the modern round brilliant cut of diamonds was invented by Marcel Tolkowsky with more facets and more sophisticated methods of cutting diamonds, which immensely added to the sparkle.

“It’s very sad because the history of this dazzling Cartier tiara with all its regal heritage has been lost.”

Ashley Cole had a successful career with Chelsea and England

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Ashley Cole had a successful career with Chelsea and EnglandCredit: Getty
Tom Huddlestone is said to have been targeted in a 'well-planned operation'

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Tom Huddlestone is said to have been targeted in a ‘well-planned operation’Credit: Getty

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