A south-east London man has been found guilty of robbing Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish and his wife, Peta, during a home invasion in which a “Rambo-style knife” was held to his throat.
The home invasion occurred in November 2021, when intruders wearing ski masks broke into Cavendish’s Essex home at around 2:30am local time while the family was sleeping. Two Richard Mille watches, valued at 400,000 euros and 300,000 euros, were among the stolen objects.
A majority verdict of 10 jurors at Chelmsford Crown Court found Romario Henry, 31, guilty of two counts of robbery despite denying the charges. However, his co-defendant, Oludewa Okorosobo, from south London, was acquitted by the jury on both counts of robbery.
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Okorosobo said he was stabbed in the leg in September 2021, months before the robbery. He told police in December of that year that he “couldn’t do any” of the crimes committed.
What framed him for the crime was a cell phone he said he lent to a man who admitted to robbery. Ali Sesay borrowed the phone to use a navigation app and DNA from him at the crime scene was found on Peta Cavendish’s phone.
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Peta Cavendish said she had gone downstairs to investigate a noise she had heard and found “figures of men wearing ski masks, and they were running towards the bottom of the stairs,” according to PA Media. She also believed that three to five people were at the scene.
Mark Cavendish was unable to alert the authorities, and one of the intruders had “dragged” him by the feet and began beating him.
At the time, Cavendish had just returned from hospital after suffering three broken ribs and a torn left lung following a bicycle accident.
Cavendish was then put in a headlock, his wife said, and told: “Do you want me to stab you?” him as he holds a large black knife to his neck. The intruder was looking for his watches.
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“It was black and it had holes in it. It was a weapon,” Cavendish said.
While this was happening, Peta Cavendish and her three-year-old son were covered with a duvet, so they couldn’t see what was happening.
Peta Cavendish described the knife as “Rambo-style,” according to the BBC.
Authorities continue to search for two suspects, Jo Jobson and George Goddard, who the jury learned about during the trial.
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Cavendish is a highly decorated British cyclist who has won 34 Tour de France stages, tying him for first place all-time with Eddy Merckx, a legendary cyclist.