Two men have been jailed for robbing Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish at knifepoint.
Romario Henry, 31, denied two counts of robbery but was found guilty following a trial, and sentenced today to 15 years in prison.
Ali Sesay, 28, admitted two counts of robbery, and received a prison sentence of 12 years.
Sesay also admitted to six unrelated firearms offenses, and received a further eight years in prison consecutive to his 12-year sentence for robbery.
Intruders wearing balaclavas broke into Mr Cavendish and his wife’s home in Ongar, Essex at about 2.30am on November 27, 2021.
A trial at Chelmsford Crown Court heard they threatened to stab the athlete, and took items including two Richard Mille watches worth £700,000 combined, £400,000 and £300,000 each.
As he handed down the sentence, Judge David Turner KC told the defendants the act was “planned, targeted, orchestrated, ruthless offending”.
He added that they “aimed” at “an internationally known sportsman and his wife who happened to be brand ambassadors for exceptionally valuable Richard Mille watches”.
Courts heard that Mr Cavendish, a cyclist for Britain’s Olympic team, had a “Rambo-style” knife held against his face by the intruders.
He and his wife were woken up when they broke into their Essex property and made a noise downstairs.
Mrs Cavendish went to investigate, and spotting the intruders, told her husband to get back in their bedroom.
She told the court she “heard a noise that woke me” and heard the men before she saw them.
She said: “As I got a few steps down the stairs I could hear men speaking but it was still dark.”
The cyclist attempted to sound a panic alarm, but was jumped by an intruder who started punching him on the head.
He told the court one of the men, holding a knife to his face, threatened to “stab him up” in front of his children.
Mrs Cavendish added that she suspected there were “between three and five” men in their home.
She said: “I know there were between three and five, I know there were more than a couple but I wouldn’t have been able to say exactly how many (people there were).”