A thug who broke into the home of former England defender Ashley Cole and threatened to cut off his fingers has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Kurtis Dilks, 35, was jailed today at Nottingham Crown Court with his license extended by five years.
Cole previously said the “terror and confusion” on his children’s faces when the gang of men broke into his home in January 2020, tied him up and then uttered their cruel threat “will never leave me.”
Judge James Sampson commended the “courage and resilience” of Cole and his partner Sharon Canu, as well as all of the gang’s other victims.
Branding Dilks “frighteningly reckless,” he told him, “The psychological impact on Mr. Cole and Ms. Canu, as on all of their victims, cannot be overstated.”
The judge told Nottingham Crown Court the attack on the footballer’s home was “extremely appalling” and described the gang as “intelligent, violent and appallingly ruthless men”.
As well as attacking Cole, Dilks was found guilty of conspiring with co-defendants Ashley Cumberpatch and Andrew MacDonald to rob the wife of former Tottenham, Hull and Derby midfielder Tom Huddlestone in May 2019.
The trio have also been convicted of stealing a £3.5million tiara worn to Edward VII’s coronation in 2018 from the Harley Gallery on the Welbeck Estate in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.
A thug who broke into Ashley Cole’s home and threatened to cut off his fingers has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. Kurtis Dilks, 35, was jailed today at Nottingham Crown Court with his license extended by five years
The ex-Arsenal and Chelsea defender was at home with his partner Sharon Canu (pictured together)
In a statement read by a prosecutor on Friday, Cole said: “The image of that night stays and influences everything.
“The horror and confusion on my children’s faces will never leave me.
“These images and thoughts will never, ever leave my mind and can appear at any time.”
He described how he’s invested so much in security at his home in Fetcham, Surrey, that it “feels like a fortress”, but he said he still couldn’t go to the bin without a flashlight and his guard dog.
Dilks was the only one of the gang responsible for the robbery who was 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 had a “major impact” on her life, and recalled trying to hide in a closet with her son while her husband was tied up and begged her daughter for comfort.
Ms. Canu said, “This will never leave me.”
She said that despite the dogs, panic alarms and fences that have been installed on her property, she still doesn’t feel safe.
Ms Canu said they considered moving but “the truth is that no matter where the house is, the feelings and the fear would be there”.
Dilk’s trial overheard Cole telling police he thought “now I’m going to die” as he recalled how the masked attackers had his hands tied behind his back even as he was holding his infant daughter.
Dilks was the only one in the gang responsible for the robbery, who was caught after his DNA was found on the zip ties used to hold Cole and Ms. Canu.
Cole was not in court on Friday.
The 6th Duke of Portland commissioned Cartier to make the tiara for his wife Winifred, Duchess of Portland. She further wore it to the coronation of King Edward VII.
Former England footballer Mr Cole previously said the “terror and confusion” on his children’s faces as the gang of men entered his home, tied him up and then uttered their cruel threat “will never leave me”. The former defender is seen attending a training session at Everton FC’s Finch Farm in Halewood, England earlier this week
Dilks, wearing an orange and black patterned shirt and mask, sat with five other defendants in the glass-fronted dock and stared straight ahead while listening to impact statements.
Cumberpatch and MacDonald were found guilty, along with jewelers Tevfik Guccuk and Sercan Evsin, and co-defendant Christopher Yorke, of converting criminal property after the theft.
Prosecutor Michael Brady QC told jurors the items stolen during the tiara burglary were passed to professional handlers Guccuk and Evsin who were hired to sell them.
The court heard that Guccuk’s tiara and brooch are believed to have been taken out of the country to his native Turkey after being dropped off at a “supposedly legitimate jewelery shop”, Paris Jewels, in Hatton Garden, London, in November 2018 .
Guccuk, who had papers confirming he was a trader, told jurors his trip to Istanbul was for a postponed wedding and he regularly travels to the city on business.
It is understood his flight was from London Heathrow Airport and the 41-year-old would have taken the items in his hand luggage.
Speaking to the jury at his opening on how the items would have been disposed of, Mr Brady said: “Those responsible for this part of this sophisticated offence, Evsin and Guccuk, ran what was believed to be a legitimate jewelery business in Hatton Garden.
“Some of the stolen items were so valuable and conspicuous that it was not possible to sell them in the UK.
“From the evidence it can be concluded that the property had to be sold abroad at times.”
Police rumbled the gang after detectives linked Harley Gallery Go-Pro footage confiscated from Cumberpatch’s home in October 2017 to the theft. During the 10-week trial, the public prosecutor’s office was able to prove that the footage showed an attempt by the 37-year-old to clarify the matter “in sight”.