Gang accused of robbing Ashley Cole at knifepoint were caught on CCTV wearing boiler suits and helmets as they stole Duchess of Portland’s £3.5m diamond tiara, court hears
Jurors in the case of a man accused of carrying out a terrifying knifepoint robbery on ex-England star Ashley Cole have been shown shocking CCTV footage of a £3.5m diamond tiara heist he is also said to have taken part in.
A court has heard how the former Chelsea and England defender was attacked in his home in Fetcham, Surrey, by a balaclava-clad gang who threatened to cut his fingers off as they searched for jewellery and watches.
Cole’s horrified partner, model Sharon Canu, and their two young children were forced to watch as he was forced to his knees with his hands bound behind his back.
The group of up to six men fled with valuables, cash and a Gucci bag when police arrived.
One of the alleged gang members, 34-year-old Kurtis Dilks, is standing trial at Nottingham Crown Court charged with robbery following the incident, which took place at around 9.30pm on January 21, 2020. He denies the offence.
Ashley Cole’s horrified partner, model Sharon Canu, and their two young children were forced to watch as he was forced to his knees with his hands bound behind his back in the robbery at their home on January 21, 2020
The Portland Tiara, which was stolen by three raiders who used specialist diamond cutter tools from the Welbeck Estate on November 20 last year
But prosecutors claim he was also involved in a series of earlier ‘extremely serious, high profile, carefully planned and at times ruthlessly executed burglaries and violent robberies’.
One of those was the theft of the £3.5m Portland Tiara – described as having ‘significant historical importance’ – from an art gallery on the Welbeck country estate in Nottinghamshire.
The Cartier-designed tiara – worn by the Duchess of Portland to the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII – was stolen from its armoured glass display case on the night of November 21, 2018 in what the court has heard was a ‘professionally executed, well-planned, offence.’
It was then allegedly transported to London ‘within hours’ and handed to Sercan Evsin, 25, and Tevfik Guccuk, who ran ‘an ostensibly legitimate’ jewellery business in the capital’s Hatton Garden district, before being ‘broken down’ and flown out of the UK.
Detectives investigating the theft of a famous tiara and a diamond brooch from The Welbeck Estate in Worksop have released CCTV images of three suspects
Today, dramatic CCTV recordings of the tiara raid were played to jurors. They showed a car pulling up to a wooden fence close to the gallery in the pitch black, and three figures wearing boiler suits and helmets leaping out.
They climb the fence then approach the gallery, using power tools to cut their way through a floor-to-ceiling window and gaining entry.
CCTV from inside the gallery shows sparks flying as they use the tools to force their way into the glass cabinets holding the tiara, and an accompanying brooch worth £250,000.
They then flee with the items, running back to the car, which drives away.
The raid takes just five minutes – too quick for on-site security to intercept it.
The Cartier-designed tiara was worn by Winifred Cavendish-Bentinck, Duchess of Portland (1863-1954) at the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII
Prosecutor Michael Brady QC has said the ‘proper inference to draw’ is that four defendants alongside Dilks in the dock – Ashley Cumberpatch, 35, Adrian Eddishaw, 32, Matthew Johnson, 34, and 32-year-old Kelly Duong, were ‘the four people who attended at or near the gallery on the evening of the burglary.’
But he added although mobile phone data suggested Dilks and another man, Andrew MacDonald, 40, didn’t take part in the actual raid, ‘it does not undermine the evidence indicative of their involvement in the agreement, the conspiracy to commit the burglary’.
All six defendants, of Nottingham, deny conspiracy to commit burglary. Evsin and Guccuk, of London, deny converting criminal property.
Other offences allegedly committed by Dilks include a May 2019 robbery at the home of Hull City footballer Tom Huddlestone in Caythorpe, Notts, while he was playing an away game in Swansea.
That incident saw Huddlestone’s partner Joanna Dixon, who was in bed with their young son, tied up and threatened, and £500,000 worth of jewellery taken.
Dilks is then said to have ‘continued the pattern’ when he was involved in the later robbery of Cole, now first team coach at Everton, and Ms Canu.
The trial, which is expected to last up to 12 weeks, continues.