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Mark Cavendish robbery trial: Romario Henry found guilty of robbing Olympic cyclist and wife at knife point

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A man has been found guilty of raiding Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta at knife point at their home.

At around 2.30am on 27 November 2021 an intruder wearing a balaclava broke into her home in Ongar, Essex and threatened to stab the athlete, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.

They took items including two Richard Mille watches with a combined value of £700,000.

Romario Henry, 31, of Bell Green, Lewisham, south-east London, denied two counts of robbery but was found guilty on both counts by a majority verdict of 10 jurors on Monday after deliberating 14 hours and 35 minutes Gone.

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His co-defendant Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, of Camberwell, south London, denied two counts of robbery and was cleared by the jury.

Henry, who showed no apparent reaction as he pleaded guilty, will be sentenced on February 7 alongside Ali Sesse, 28, from Rainham, Kent, who admitted two counts of robbery at an earlier hearing.

Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta (Yui Mok/PA)

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The trial was told that 28-year-old Cece’s DNA was found on Peta Cavendish’s phone, which had been taken and found outside the property.

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There were allegations that the accused men robbed a watch, phone and safe from Cavendish, and a watch, phone and suitcase from the athlete’s wife.

Mrs Cavendish told jurors that she had heard a noise which woke her in the night and went downstairs to investigate.

She said she could “see figures of men in balaclavas, and they were running towards the bottom of the stairs”, and she believed there were “between three and five” people.

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She said she ran back to the bedroom yelling “go back” or “go inside” to her husband, who was unable to activate the panic alarm.

He told the trial that one of the intruders “pulled Cavendish” by his feet and began punching him.

He said, “One of them held a big black knife to his throat and he said, ‘Where are the watches’ and ‘Do you want me to stab you?'”

A CCTV image from Mark Cavendish’s property showing the suspects leaving the open front gate

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She agreed with a suggestion that it was a Rambo-style knife, and in his evidence, Cavendish said that it was “not a knife you have in the kitchen”.

“It was black and had holes in it,” he said, adding, “It was a weapon.”

Mrs Cavendish said at the time her husband was “out of hospital for probably four days”, following a bicycle accident which broke three of his ribs and bruised his left lung.

She said that when she went downstairs after the intruders had left, she saw that a patio door had been broken in, and that Cavendish had cut his feet on broken glass.

Okorosobo, who held his head in his hands as he pleaded not guilty, told jurors that he had been stabbed in the leg on 16 September 2021, months before the robbery.

He said in a prepared statement to police in December 2021 that he was “incapable of committing any” of the alleged offences, and that “any human being could see that I was incapable of doing it”.

He said that he had lent his mobile phone, which was connected to the cell mast in Ongar area on the night, to a person who has confessed to the robbery.

Essex Police release picture of watch stolen from Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish’s home

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Okorosobo, who held his head in his hands as he pleaded not guilty, told jurors that he had been stabbed in the leg on 16 September 2021, months before the robbery.

He said in a prepared statement to police in December 2021 that he was “incapable of committing any” of the alleged offences, and that “any human being could see that I was incapable of doing it”.

He said that he had lent his mobile phone, which was connected to the cell mast in Ongar area on the night, to a person who has confessed to the robbery.

Okorosobo said he did not go to the Cavendish address and was not with his phone, but had let Sesay borrow it to use a navigation app.

Jurors were told that two more men, Joe Jobson, from Plistowe, east London, and George Goddard, from Loughton in Essex, have been named as suspects in the case, but have not been arrested.

A CCTV image taken from a Texaco petrol station shows suspect George Goddard holding up a mobile phone, which was shown to the jury in the Mark Cavendish robbery case at Chelmsford Crown Court.

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(Tags to translate) Chelmsford Crown Court

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