Cycling star Cavendish tells court how intruder held knife to his face

Multiple-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish told a court on Monday how a mask-wearing intruder held a knife to his face during a robbery at his home.

The intruders made off with two Richard Mille watches, valued at a combined £700,000 ($839,000) from the property, about 25 miles (40 kilometres) northeast of London, in the early hours of November 27, 2021, when Cavendish and his wife, Peta, were at home with their children, according to prosecutors.

Cavendish, giving evidence at Chelmsford Crown Court, east of London, said 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, giving evidence earlier Monday, said she "heard a noise that woke me" in the night and went downstairs to investigate, adding she was "naked" at the time.

Cavendish told the court he was also naked when the intruders broke in.

The 37-year-old rider jointly owns the record for stage wins at the Tour de France, with 34, and also won an Olympic silver on the track at the 2016 Rio Games.

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

They are accused of robbing Mark Cavendish of a watch, phone and a safe, and robbing Peta Cavendish of a watch, phone and suitcase.

Ali Sesay, 28, of Holding Street, Rainham, Kent, 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 found outside the property.

The trial continues.

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