LONDON, UK, April 11 – A thief threatened to cut off former England full-back Ashley Cole’s fingers with a pair of pliers during a violent break-in at his home, a court heard on Monday.
Nottingham Crown Court heard Cole, 41, was led into the house in just shorts as intruders demanded jewelery in January 2020.
Kurtis Dilks, 34, is accused of being a member of a four-person gang who forced their way into Cole’s house with a hammer.
Jurors were told Cole and partner Sharon Canu each had their hands tied with cable ties, and the court was shown on CCTV of intruders leading Cole, who played for both Arsenal and Chelsea, down the stairs.
The court was told that among the items stolen in the burglary were cash, mobile phones and watches.
Dilks is accused of robbing Cole and Ms Canu, as well as raiding the home of former Tottenham and Derby midfielder Tom Huddlestone with co-defendants Ashley Cumberpatch and Andrew MacDonald.
Attorney Michael Brady said that although Cole was home with his family, “thieves were clearly not deterred by his presence”.
He added that Cole told his partner to call the police, which she did after hiding in a wardrobe.
The prosecutor continued: ‘The next thing Ms Canu knew was when one of the thieves opened the wardrobe door and took the phone from her while she was talking to the police.
“Ms Canu… followed the intruder and was directed without a word by the man who had taken his phone from the bedroom where Mr Cole was.
“She then saw Mr Cole on his knees with his hands tied behind his back,” the prosecutor added that one of the intruders was armed with a hammer which the gang used to break into the house by kicking down the doors.
After the gang confronted Cole, Brady told jurors that Canu’s hands were then tied together with black cable ties.
He said, “The man said, ‘Do you want this?’ – that is, the knife.
Brady added: “At this point, Mr. Cole’s hands were also tied behind his back with similar cable ties.
“Mr Cole mentioned that one of the attackers, a more aggressive stocky man who also spoke in an Irish accent, kept saying ‘cut his fingers off’.
“At the time, he was armed with pliers.
“Despite the stocky thief’s best efforts to attack him with pliers, the thief whom Mr. Cole described as the ‘boss’, the one who had first approached him in his bedroom and grabbed his neck, prevented the attack to continue.”
The trial continues.