A court found a man guilty Monday of robbing British cycling star Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta at knifepoint
London (AFP) - A man was found guilty on Monday of robbing British cycling star Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta of their high-value watches in a knifepoint attack at their home.
Intruders wearing balaclavas broke into the property about 40 kilometres (25 miles) northeast of London in the early hours of November 27, 2021, and threatened to stab the athlete, a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court was told.
They took items including two Richard Mille watches with a combined value of £700,000 ($864,000).
Romario Henry, 31, of southeast London, denied the charges but was found guilty on two counts of robbery by a majority verdict of 10 jurors to two, after more than 14 hours of deliberation.
His co-defendant, Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, who gave an address in south London, denied two counts of robbery and was cleared by the jury.
Ali Sesay, 28, admitted two counts of robbery at an earlier hearing, and the trial was previously told that his DNA was found on the phone of Peta Cavendish, which was discovered outside the property.
Mark Cavendish jointly owns the record for stage wins at the Tour de France, with 34 victories to his name, and also won an Olympic silver medal on the track at the 2016 Rio Games.
Earlier this month, the 37-year-old rider signed a one-year contract with Astana, which as a World Tour team are slated for the Tour de France in July.
Cavendish told the court during the trial that he woke to the sound of voices and that Peta went to investigate.
“I got up to follow her out (of the bedroom) and as I was stepping out of the room is when she started to come back up (the stairs),” Cavendish said Monday. “She shouted ‘get in’.
“There were figures really close behind her.”
He added he had tried to press a panic alarm but was unable to do so in the dark and was then jumped on by an intruder, who began punching him in the head.
“One held me and another pulled out a knife and just held it in my face,” said Cavendish. “It wasn’t a knife you have in a kitchen.
“It was black and had holes in it. It was a weapon.”
Peta Cavendish said she hid her three-year-old child under the duvet so she could not see what was happening.
Henry and Sesay will be sentenced on February 7.