Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish looked “very worried” and was wearing shorts when he opened his front door to a police officer minutes after the stabbing while his children were at home, the court heard.
Balaclava-wearing intruders broke into Cavendish’s home while he was sleeping upstairs with his wife Peta and their three-year-old child also in bed, Chelmsford Crown Court said.
The athlete was punched and the attacker threatened to stab him before the gang fled with the items, including two Richard Mille watches, worth £400,000 and £300,000, the prosecution said.
Romario Henry, 31, of Bell Green, Lewisham, south-east London, and Oludeva Okorsobo, 28, of Flaxman Road, Camberwell, south London, deny two allegations of robbery.
They were accused of stealing Cavendish’s watch, telephone and safe, and robbing the athlete’s wife of a watch, telephone and suitcase.
Ali Sesay, 28, of Holding Street, Rainham, Kent, pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery at an earlier trial, and the trial had previously been told his DNA had been found on Peta Cavendish’s phone, which was taken and found outside the property.
Police were called to the scene in the Ongar area of Essex at 2.35am on 27 November 2021. Pc Adem Harman was one of two officers who arrived at the scene at 2.42am.
“By the time I arrived, the information given by the dispatch office was that someone had been the victim of a break-in,” said police officer Harman, who was in uniform and driving a marked car.
“Five people armed with knives came to the address, broke in and demanded the property.”
He said that when he arrived the gates were locked and he could not drive his police vehicle into the driveway.
The officer said he went “straight to the front door” and first spoke to Cavendish, who was wearing shorts, then spoke to Ms Cavendish.
“Long story short, she told me she was home, went downstairs to get a glass of water, turned off the alarm clock and went to sleep without resetting it,” Pc Harman said.
“She was alerted to the noise, suspected her children were waking up in the night, opened the door and was confronted by several suspects.”
When asked how Cavendish and his wife seemed to him, the officer replied: “Very depressed.”
Pc Harman said, in response to Archangelo Power’s questioning, on behalf of Henry, that he “was greeted at the front door by Cavendish.”
“As far as I remember Mark opened the front door, I asked him if he was okay, his wife was present in the hallway at the address,” the officer said.
Pc Harman said he confirmed the suspects had already left, while Cavendish and his wife said no one was seriously injured.
“Both sides were very stressed, so they talked and tried to give as much information as possible,” he said.
“It was a group call, not just one person.”
PC Harman said Cavendish and his wife told him the suspects “ran into their bedroom, demanded watches and other things.”
“They stated they were armed with knives, they said they took the watches, they said they were not the right watches, where are the others,” Pc Harman said.
He agreed with Mr Power that according to the couple’s account, the intruders said “where is the money, where is the safe”.
Pc Harman said that “Peta Cavendish provided most of the coverage, but Mark also provided bits and pieces of information.”
He agreed with Mr. Power that according to their account, the intruders ordered Cavendish to open the safe and punched him in the face when he failed to do so.
Mr Power said part of Cavendish’s account was “We were in bed and they came in screaming.”
When asked by Mr Power whether Cavendish or his wife had given a description of the suspects or how many there were, Pc Harman said: “I don’t recall.”
Pc Harman said during cross-examination by prosecutor Edward Renvoize that “what we will be dealing with first” upon arrival at the scene will be “saving lives and limbs if there is any threat to life.”
Two more men, Jo Jobson and George Goddard, have been named as suspects in the case but have not been arrested by police.
The process continues.