Robber who smashed his way into Ashley Cole’s home and threatened to cut off the football star’s fingers and also stole £3.5m tiara is jailed for 30 years
- Kurtis Dilks, 35, was jailed at Nottingham Crown Court today
- The judge praised ‘courage and resilience’ of Cole and partner Sharon Canu
- Cole earlier said ‘terror and confusion’ on children’s faces will never leave him
A thug who smashed his way into former England defender Ashley Cole’s home and threatened to cut off his fingers has been jailed for 30 years.
Kurtis Dilks, 35, was jailed at Nottingham Crown Court today, with a five-year extended licence period.
Cole earlier said the ‘terror and confusion’ on his children’s faces when the gang of men smashed their way into his home in January 2020, tied him up and then issued their gruesome threat ‘will never leave me’.
Judge James Sampson praised the ‘courage and resilience’ of Cole and his partner Sharon Canu, as well as all the other victims of the gang.
Branding Dilks ‘chillingly ruthless’, he told him: ‘The psychological impact on Mr Cole and Ms Canu, as with all of your victims, cannot be overstated.’
The judge told Nottingham Crown Court the attack on the footballer’s home was ‘extremely terrifying’ and described the gang as ‘intelligent, violent and chillingly ruthless men’.
Dilks was convicted last week alongside five others for their roles in a string of what prosecutors said were ‘ruthlessly executed’ robberies and burglaries between October 2018 and January 2020.
Before the attack on Cole and his family, Dilks had been part of a gang that stole the famed £3.5million Portland Tiara from the Harley Gallery on the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire.
A thug who smashed his way into Ashley Cole’s home and threatened to cut off his fingers has been jailed for 30 years. Kurtis Dilks, 35, was jailed at Nottingham Crown Court today, with a five-year extended licence period
The ex-Arsenal and Chelsea defender was at home with his partner Sharon Canu (pictured together)
In a statement that was read out by a prosecutor earlier on Friday, Cole said: ‘The picture of that night remains and impacts everything.
‘The terror and confusion on my children’s face is something that will never leave me.
‘These images and thoughts will never, ever leave my mind and can pop up any time.’
He described how he has invested hugely on security at his home in Fetcham, Surrey, to the point that it makes it ‘feel like a fortress’, but he said he still cannot go out to the bin without a torch and his guard dog.
Dilks was the only one of the gang responsible for the robbery to be caught
Cole’s partner Sharon Canu was in court on Friday to hear her statement also read by prosecutor Michael Brady QC.
She described in her document how the raid has had a ‘huge impact’ on her life, recalling how she tried to hide in a wardrobe with her son as her husband was tied up and her daughter pleaded for comfort.
Ms Canu said: ‘That will never leave me.’
She said that despite the dogs, panic alarms and fences that have been installed in their property, she still does not feel safe.
Ms Canu said they had considered moving but ‘the truth is that the feelings and the fear would be there no matter where the house was’.
Dilks’s trial heard how Cole told police he thought ‘now I am going to die’ as he recalled how the masked raiders tied his hands behind his back despite him holding his young daughter.
Dilks was the only one of the gang responsible for the robbery to be caught after his DNA was recovered on the cable ties used to restrain Cole and Ms Canu.
Cole was not in court on Friday.
As well as the attack on Cole and the tiara heist, Dilks was found guilty of conspiring to rob the wife of former Tottenham, Hull and Derby midfielder Tom Huddlestone in May 2019 with fellow defendants Ashley Cumberpatch and Andrew MacDonald.
The three men were were also convicted of being part of the theft of the Portland Tiara.
The 6th Duke of Portland commissioned Cartier to create the tiara for his wife Winifred, Duchess of Portland. She went on to wear it to the coronation of King Edward VII.
Former England footballer Mr Cole earlier said the ‘terror and confusion’ on his children’s faces when the gang of men smashed their way into his home, tied him up and then issued their gruesome threat ‘will never leave me’. The former defender is pictured at a training session at Everton FC’s Finch Farm in Halewood, England, earlier this week
Wearing an orange and black patterned shirt and a mask, Dilks sat in the glass-fronted dock with five other defendants, staring straight forward as he listened to the impact statements.
Cumberpatch and MacDonald were also convicted alongside jewellers Tevfik Guccuk and Sercan Evsin, and co-defendant Christopher Yorke, of converting criminal property following the theft.
Prosecutor Michael Brady QC told jurors the items stolen during the burglary were passed to professional handlers Guccuk and Evsin, who were tasked with selling them.
The court heard it is thought the tiara and brooch were taken out of the country by Guccuk to his native Turkey after they were dropped off at an ‘ostensibly legitimate jewellery business’, Paris Jewels, in Hatton Garden, London, in November 2018.
Guccuk, who had papers to confirm he was a trader, told jurors his trip to Istanbul was for a rescheduled wedding and that he travels to the city regularly for business.
It is understood his flight was from London Heathrow Airport, and that the 41-year-old would have taken the items in his hand luggage.
Speaking of how the items would have been disposed of in his opening to the jury, Mr Brady said: ‘Those responsible for this part of what was highly sophisticated criminal offending, Evsin and Guccuk, operated an ostensibly legitimate jewellery business in Hatton Garden.
‘Such was the value and conspicuous nature of some of the items stolen that it was not possible to sell them in the UK.
‘The inference to be drawn from the evidence is that at times the property had to be disposed of abroad.’
Police rumbled the gang after detectives connected Go-Pro footage of the Harley Gallery, seized from Cumberpatch’s home in October 2017, with the theft. During the 10-week trial, the prosecution was able to prove the footage demonstrated a reconnaissance attempt by the 37-year-old ‘in plain sight’.
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