London — A masked intruder held a large knife to the throat of Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish and threatened to stab him during a robbery at his home, the British rider's wife told a court on Monday.
The intruders made off with two Richard Mille watches, valued at a combined £700 000 ($839,000) from the property, about 40km northeast of London, in the early hours of November 27, 2021, when the Cavendishes were at home with their children, according to prosecutors.
Peta Cavendish, giving evidence at Chelmsford Crown Court, east of London, said she “heard a noise that woke me” in the night and went downstairs to investigate, adding she was “naked” at the time.
“As I got a few steps down the stairs I could hear men speaking but it was still dark,” she said.
Cavendish told the court she could see “men’s figures in balaclavas, and they were running towards the bottom of the stairs”.
Asked by prosecutor Edward Renvoize how she felt when she saw the men in balaclavas, she told jurors: “It was just everyone’s worst nightmare.”
Cavendish said one of the intruders “dragged" her husband ”from his feet and started punching him“.
Mark Cavendish jointly owns the record for stage wins at the Tour de France, with 34, and also won an Olympic silver on the track at the 2016 Rio Games.
Romario Henry, 31, of Bell Green, Lewisham, southeast London, and 28-year-old Oludewa Okorosobo, of Flaxman Road, Camberwell, south London, both deny two counts of robbery.
They are accused of robbing Mark Cavendish of a watch, phone and a safe, and to robbing Peta Cavendish of a watch, phone and suitcase.
Peta Cavendish said her husband had been “out of hospital for four days maybe” at the time following a cycling crash which left him with three broken ribs and a tear to his left lung.
Ali Sesay, 28, of Holding Street, Rainham, Kent, admitted two counts of robbery at an earlier hearing, and the trial was previously told that his DNA was found on the phone of Peta Cavendish, which was found outside the property.
The trial continues.