Courier accused of Ashley Cole robbery claims DNA was on items stolen from van

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(Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)
(Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

A courier accused of robbing former England footballer Ashley Cole has claimed DNA linking him to the scene was found on items stolen from his van.

Kurtis Dilks is charged with being part of a four-strong gang who allegedly smashed their way into the home of Mr Cole and his partner Sharon Canu with a sledgehammer, and threatened to cut his fingers off with pliers.

On Monday, the 34-year-old defendant told a jury at Nottingham Crown Court he was “most certainly not” involved in the robbery in Fetcham, Surrey, on January 21 2020.

The court heard Dilks also told police he felt “sick” when he was informed his DNA was found on a knife and a black cable tie recovered from the scene, and that he believed somebody was “framing” him.

Kurtis Dilks is accused of robbing Ashley Cole and his partner Sharon Canu (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)
Kurtis Dilks is accused of robbing Ashley Cole and his partner Sharon Canu (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)

Jurors were previously shown footage of ex-Chelsea, Arsenal and Derby County defender Cole telling police “I knew now, I am going to die”, as he recalled masked raiders breaking into his home and tying his hands while he was holding his young daughter.

Questioning Dilks about the robbery, his defence barrister Simon Eckersley said: “We have seen some footage from the property’s CCTV system. Were you involved in the planning of that robbery?”

“Most certainly not,” Dilks replied.

Mr Eckersley continued: “Were you involved in the actual commission of the robbery?”

“No.”

“Were you one of the men who went in (to the house)?”

“Most definitely not.”

Sharon Canu dialled 999 as masked men smashed into her home (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Archive)
Sharon Canu dialled 999 as masked men smashed into her home (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Archive)

Asking Dilks about the alleged planning of the robbery, Mr Eckersley said: “It is said on January 15 two vehicles travelled down to Surrey, presumably either to do a reconnaissance mission, or indeed to commit the robbery which did not take place. Did you go down on January 15?”

“No.”

“It is said that on January 21 two, possibly three, vehicles drove down from Nottingham on false plates.

“Some, at least, of the occupants are said to have been involved in the robbery and drove back. Did you travel down from Nottingham to the Surrey area on January 21?”

“No.”

“Did you travel from Surrey back to Nottingham?”

“No.”

Mr Eckersley then read a short pre-prepared statement Dilks made to police after his arrest, in which he said he was “adamant” he was not involved in the robbery.

The defendant’s barrister continued: “We have heard that DNA material was found on two items – first is a knife which was outside the address on the walkway, and also one of the cable ties that was recovered from the kitchen table.

“Was that DNA found on those two items because you robbed Ashley Cole and Sharon Canu?”

“No, that wasn’t the case,” Dilks replied.

“Indicate what you say about the possible DNA that was found.”

Kurtis Dilks said he felt ‘sick’ when he was told his DNA had been found on items recovered from the scene (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)
Kurtis Dilks said he felt ‘sick’ when he was told his DNA had been found on items recovered from the scene (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)

“The only aspect I can believe is those items were stolen out of my van.

“It’s something I don’t do every day, to check everything is there. I would only check if I needed to use the item.”

Dilks is further accused of conspiring to rob the wife of former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tom Huddlestone on May 1 2019.

Mr Eckersley questioned the defendant over his alleged involvement in the theft of a £3.5 million tiara from the Harley Gallery in Welbeck, near Worksop, Nottinghamshire, in 2018.

“Were you involved in a conspiracy to burgle the Harley Gallery?” he asked the defendant.

“No,” Dilks said.

“Were you one of the people who went into the Harley Gallery and physically stole the items?”

“No.”

“Were you aware that the burglary was going to happen?”

“No.”

Nine other men are also on trial over the series of “ruthlessly executed” burglaries.

Dilks, of Clifton, Nottingham, faces three charges of conspiracy to commit burglary, four charges of converting criminal property, three charges of conspiracy to commit robbery and two counts of robbery.

He denies all charges.

The trial continues.

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