Former England footballer Ashley Cole told police he thought he was “going to die” as masked looters burst into his home and threatened to cut off his fingers with pliers, a court heard.
Nottingham Crown Court saw footage of a group of men breaking into Cole’s home in Surrey in January 2020, shortly after he settled down to watch Netflix with his partner, Sharon Canu.
Kurtis Dilks, 34, is accused of being part of the gang who allegedly broke into the house with a hammer and tied Cole’s hands behind his back in front of his children.
Cole told police he was “on his knees, waiting to be killed.” He said he had just got home from work when he heard a “banging noise”. “I got out of bed and said to [Canu]”That’s why I should keep a weapon, like a golf club, in my room,” he told police.
Cole used his phone to watch the security camera footage and could see the intruders carrying a ladder to the balcony. He said he climbed onto the balcony and “insulted them and shouted, ‘Help me, someone is trying to enter my house'”.
He then saw at least four people running from a bush and charging towards his downstairs windows.
“I knew now that I was going to die. I have my children at home and I have no one to help me,” he said. “I tried to scream on the balcony as loud as possible. i just looked [Canu] and said: “There are people coming into the house, take the children and call the police”.
He told police he went to see his daughter while Canu went to pick up their son. “I thought if I hid maybe they would be more angry and if I had my baby on my lap they wouldn’t hurt us,” he said.
The former Arsenal, Chelsea and Derby defender – now manager at Everton – became emotional as he put his hands to his face, before saying: “I was on my knees, waiting to be killed… I will never see again my children. , and I just heard a lot of footsteps running up the stairs. I was brave, I didn’t want to show our daughter that I was afraid for our lives.
He remembers an intruder grabbing him by the neck as he held his daughter.
“He said, ‘Drop the baby,’ and I said, ‘I’m not leaving my little girl here…I’m not going to leave my baby,'” he said. grabbed me by the neck and I have my daughter in my arms. I said, ‘Listen, take it all, leave me and my family alone.'”
Canu then came to the door and begged the intruders to leave Cole alone, as they tied his hands behind his back “I’m still in my pants and I remember thinking, ‘What’s going on? happen ?’ I can see Sharon crying,” Cole said. “My son, he saw my hands tied behind my back, and I looked at him and saw his face – he was just white.”
Cole went on to describe how an “aggressive” thief tried to cut him and the intruder said, “Cut off his fucking hands, cut off his fucking fingers.”
He said the intruders fled “within five seconds” when alerted to the presence of police.
Dilks is charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, four counts of converting criminal property, three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and two counts of robbery.
Nine other men are also on trial for their alleged roles in the series of “ruthlessly executed” burglaries, including the theft of a £3.5million tiara. The trial continues.