Man found guilty of stabbing robber of Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish in raid

Man found guilty of stabbing robber of Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish in raid

A man has been found guilty of stealing high-quality watches from Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta in a raid in which a Rambo knife was held to the athlete’s throat.

Intruders wearing balaclavas broke into Cavendish’s home as he slept upstairs with his wife Peta at their home in Ongar in Essex, a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court has been told.

Ms Cavendish said she covered her three-year-old child, who was also in bed, with the duvet so they couldn’t see what was happening.

Two Richard Mille watches valued at £400,000 and £300,000 were among the items seized in the raid at around 2:30am on 27 November 2021.

Romario Henry, 31, of Bell Green, Lewisham, south-east London, denied two counts of robbery but was found guilty on both counts by a majority verdict of 10 to two jurors after 14 hours and 35 minutes of deliberation.

His co-defendant Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, of Flaxman Road, Camberwell, south London, denied two counts of robbery and was acquitted by the jury.

Okorosobo, who held his head in his hands when he was found not guilty, had told jurors he was stabbed in the leg on September 16, 2021, months before the robbery.

He said in a prepared statement to police in December 2021 that he was “incapable” of committing the alleged offenses and that “every human being can see that I am incapable”.

He said he lent his mobile phone, which was connected to cellphone towers in the Ongar area during the night, to a man who confessed to the robbery.

Okorosobo said he did not go to the Cavendish address and was not with his phone, but instead borrowed it from Ali Sesay to use a navigation app.

Henry, who showed no visible reaction at his sentencing, will be sentenced on February 7 alongside Sesay, of Holding Street, Rainham, Kent, who admitted to two counts of robbery at a previous hearing.

The trial was told that 28-year-old Sesay’s DNA was found on Peta Cavendish’s phone, which was taken away and found outside the property.

In a statement released by police after the trial, Cavendish and his wife said: “Reliving our family’s experience of that night in November 2021 has been an incredibly difficult experience.

“What happened that night no family should ever have to go through.

“While nothing can ever erase what our family went through, there is some comfort now that the two men who broke into our family home and stole from us, assaulted Mark and terrified our children are now convicted and face what we hope will be appropriate punishment for their actions, and we hope that we will take some steps to prevent this horror from happening to another innocent family.”

The charges were that the accused men robbed Cavendish of a watch, a telephone and a safe and stole a watch, a telephone and a suitcase from the athlete’s wife.

Ms Cavendish, who like her husband was naked during the robbery, had told jurors she heard a noise in the night that woke her and went downstairs to investigate.

She said she could see “male figures in balaclavas running to the bottom of the stairs” and that she believes there were “between three and five” people.

She said she ran back to the bedroom and yelled “Back” or “Rin” to her husband, who failed to set off a panic alarm.

She told the trial that one of the intruders “pulled Cavendish off his feet and started beating him”.

One had her husband in a headlock, she said, adding, “One of them put a big black knife to his throat and they said ‘Where are the watches’ and ‘Would you like me to stab you?'”

She agreed with the suggestion that it was a Rambo-style knife, and in his statement Cavendish said it was “not a knife you have in a kitchen”.

“It was black and had holes in it,” he said, adding, “It was a gun.”

Ms Cavendish said her husband was “maybe four days out of hospital” at the time after a bicycle accident that left him with three broken ribs and a ruptured left lung.

She said going down the stairs after the intruders left, she saw a patio door had been smashed in and Cavendish cut his feet on the broken glass.

The jury was told that two other men, Jo Jobson of Plaistow in east London and George Goddard of Loughton in Essex, had been named as suspects in the case but had not been arrested.

Jobson was 25 and Goddard 26 when police appealed last March.

Outside the court, Essex Police Detective Inspector Tony Atkin on camera appealed to Jobson and Goddard to turn himself in, adding: “They can only hide for so long.”

He said: “While I cannot go into detail, we are following a number of investigative lines to locate them.

“The acts for which we believe they are responsible cannot go unpunished.”

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