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A leading police officer has said former England footballer Ashley Cole is still feeling the effects of the “horrific” robbery carried out by a “dangerous” gang member.
Kurtis Dilks, a newspaper courier from Nottingham, was convicted of being part of a four-strong gang who smashed their way into Mr Cole’s home with a sledgehammer, and threatened to cut his fingers off with pliers in January 2020.
Detective Inspector Gayle Hart, the senior investigating officer in the case for Nottinghamshire Police, said Mr Cole and his partner Sharon Canu are likely to “feel the after effects of what has happened… for quite some time”.
Commenting on what the couple had to go through, DI Hart said: “The court heard from Mr Cole and his partner in their testimony, which was very powerful, where they genuinely thought they were going to die, given the circumstances.
“It was absolutely horrific and they do still feel the effects of that.
“People want to feel safe in their homes so that’s very difficult.
“It’s the same for all the victims really, this hasn’t gone away for them at all, they are all still dealing with the after effects and these people invading their homes.
“It is quite horrific so they are all still feeling the after effects of what has happened and probably will for quite some time.”
Dilks was convicted alongside five others after a trial at Nottingham Crown Court following a series of other “ruthlessly executed” burglaries and robberies in the city.
Speaking about the gang, DI Hart said: “They are certainly dangerous.
“There’s clearly some planning around this case, as we’ve heard around some of the reconnaissance on some of the victims.
“They’ve gone very planned – the type of clothing where you can’t get recognised, the weapons they’ve taken, the tools they’ve used to get into the premises with things like ladders and sledgehammers, the actions they’ve taken to try and clean some of the areas up at the scenes, using cleaning products to try and eliminate any forensic evidence.
“A very well thought out group of people, and will definitely use violence.
“So, yes, a very dangerous group of people.”
Asked if she had a message for anyone considering similar attacks on high-profile individuals, DI Hart said: “I would certainly say that Nottinghamshire Police have done some excellent work with regard to this case.
“They’ve continued with the tenacity and the dedication and diligence of this to get this to resolution at court.
“So be assured if anybody else is out there planning something similar, we will be on them.
“We will follow them, we will catch them and we will prosecute them.”