Mark Cavendish ‘threatened with Rambo knife’ at Essex home

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Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Peta Cavendish giving evidence, watched by Judge David Turner, at Chelmsford Crown CourtElizabeth Cook/PA Media

A masked intruder dragged the elite cyclist Mark Cavendish by his feet and held a “Rambo-style” knife to his throat, his wife has told a trial.

Prosecutors have said men in balaclavas broke into the family home in Ongar, Essex, on 27 November 2021.

Two suspects deny two counts of robbery at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Mr Cavendish’s wife Peta, giving evidence at the trial, described the incident as “everyone’s worst nightmare”.

Jurors have heard how the suspects made off with two Richard Mille watches, valued at £400,000 and £300,000, as well as suitcases and phones.

Peta and Mark Cavendish

Getty Images

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

Ms Cavendish said she was naked in bed when she was woken by a noise downstairs.

“As I got a few steps down the stairs I could hear men speaking, but it was still dark,” said Ms Cavendish.

She said she then saw “men’s figures in balaclavas” who ran “towards the bottom of the stairs”.

Mark Cavendish giving evidence at Chelmsford Crown Court

Elizabeth Cook/PA Media

She described how the suspects followed her into the bedroom, where they “dragged” her husband “from his feet and started punching him”.

“One of the men then had him in a headlock,” she said.

“One of them held a large black knife to his throat and they said ‘where’s the watches?’ and ‘do you want me to stab you?’.”

She agreed with prosecutor Edward Renvoize that it appeared to be a Rambo-style knife.

A Rambo knife is generally described as a survival knife, with about a dozen saw teeth, as featured in the Rambo film franchise.

Peta Cavendish watch

Essex Police

Mark Cavendish's watch

Essex Police

“They were very specific about a watch,” she said.

“I tried to explain that actually we were broken into a couple of years previously, everything has been taken.”

Ms Cavendish said they demanded to be shown the safe, but that it was empty, and could not be opened anyway because its battery-operated pin machine “had gone dead”.

She said her husband was “out of hospital for four days maybe” at the time following a cycling crash which left him with three broken ribs and a tear to his left lung.

A jury handout in the Mark Cavendish robbery trial

Essex Police

Ms Cavendish said they eventually took the £400,000 watch “Mark raced in”, that had a blue strap, which was on a windowsill.

She said they took her £300,000 Richard Mille watch from her bedside table.

They turned the bedroom “upside down”, she said, and when they left, Mr Cavendish pressed a panic alarm to alert a private security firm and police.

Essex Police say George Goddard can be seen in this image

Essex Police

Essex Police say Jo Jobson is pictured in this CCTV image

Essex Police

Mr Cavendish, also giving evidence, described how he had also been naked at the time and one man “held me” while another “pulled out a knife and just held it in my face”.

The cyclist, who is the joint record holder for winning stages in the Tour de France, told jurors he was a brand ambassador for Richard Mille watches and was sometimes loaned timepieces to wear.

Mrs Cavendish, asked about her watch that was stolen, said there was “only one”, adding: “It was made for me.”

Mr Cavendish said the two watches were “provided as part of being an ambassador”.

Jurors have been told that Ali Sesay, 28, of Holding Street, Rainham, Kent, admitted two counts of robbery at an earlier hearing.

The prosecution said fourth and fifth suspects, Jo Jobson and George Goddard, remained at large.

The trial is expected to conclude by the end of this week.

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