Mark Cavendish and wife ‘terrorised’ at home by raiders with knives, court told

Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta were “terrorised in their own home” by balaclava-clad raiders wielding knives, a court has been told.

Two Richard Mille watches valued at £400,000 and £300,000 were among the items taken from their home in Ongar, Essex, at about 2.30am on November 27 2021.

Mrs Cavendish told Chelmsford Crown Court one of the raiders held a Rambo-style knife to her husband’s neck and threatened to stab him.

Romario Henry, 31, of Bell Green, Lewisham, south-east London, and Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, of Flaxman Road, Camberwell, south London, deny two counts of robbery and are on trial.

Romario Henry, 31, left, and Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, appearing at Chelmsford Crown Court
Romario Henry, 31, left, and Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, appearing at Chelmsford Crown Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

They are accused of robbing Cavendish of a watch, phone and safe, and the athlete’s wife of a watch, phone and Louis Vuitton suitcase.

Ali Sesay, 28, of Holding Street, Rainham, Kent, admitted two counts of robbery at an earlier hearing, with the trial told his DNA was found on Mrs Cavendish’s phone, which was taken and found outside the home.

Two other men, Jo Jobson, from Plaistow, east London, and George Goddard, from Loughton in Essex, have been named as suspects but not caught.

Prosecutor Edward Renvoize, giving his closing speech on Wednesday, said the case is “quite simply about a family being terrorised in their own home”.

He said the intruders “appeared not to have got the watch they wanted” but they “did make off with what they could”.

It is for jurors to decide if the defendants were involved, he said.

A watch stolen from the home of Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish
A watch stolen from the home of Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish (Essex Police/PA)
Mark Cavendish robbery court case
Two Richard Mille watches were stolen (Essex Police/PA)

Mr Renvoize said the “professionalism of the job is beyond question” and cast doubt on Okorosobo’s claim he was not with his phone on the night it was connecting with cell masts in the area.

Okorosobo said in evidence he was not at the Olympian’s home but had lent Sesay his phone so he could use a navigation app.

“Is it really conceivable that, in order to find their way to the property, Mr Sesay had to borrow Mr Okorosobo’s telephone in order to use the Waze app?” Mr Renvoize asked.

He also questioned if Sesay would have “agreed to take inebriated Mr Henry along for the ride”.

Henry claimed in evidence he was in a Mercedes car that travelled to the Cavendish address on the night of the raid but was “out of it”.

He told jurors: “I was so messed up.

Mark Cavendish celebrates after winning the 2022 British National Road Championships road race in Castle Douglas
Mark Cavendish celebrates after winning the 2022 British National Road Championships road race in Castle Douglas (PA)

“The effect that these drugs had had on me on that day.”

Henry said he was unaware of a plan to rob the Cavendishes and not involved in the robbery.

Shahid Rashid, for Okorosobo, drew attention in his closing speech to a leg injury Okorosobo sustained in September 2021.

Referring to CCTV footage of four people approaching the Cavendish home, Mr Rashid said: “None of them walk in the way he (Okorosobo) does. None of them have any injuries that he displays and none has the impediment he suffers from.”

Archangelo Power, for Henry, said that “mere presence alone does not amount to guilt”.

The judge asked jurors to return to the court at 10am on Thursday, when he will begin summing up the evidence for them.