Man found guilty of knifepoint robbery of Mark Cavendish at family home

ZAMOSC POLAND JULY 31 Mark Cavendish of United Kingdom and Team QuickStep Alpha Vinyl prior to the 79th Tour de Pologne 2022 Stage 2 a 2056km stage from Chem to Zamo TdP22 WorldTour on July 31 2022 in Zamosc Poland Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Mark Cavendish prior to stage 2 of 2022 Tour de Pologne (Image credit: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

A man has been found guilty of the knifepoint robbery of Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta Todd at their family home in November 2021.

The Chelmsford crown court jury reached its verdict following 14 hours and 35 minutes of deliberation. They found 31-year-old Romario Henry, from Lewisham, guilty of two counts of robbery but delivered a not-guilty verdict for his co-defendant 28-year-old Oludewa Okorosobo from Camberwell.

Ali Sesay, a 28-year-old from Rainham, had already pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery at an earlier trial.

The jury retired to consider their verdicts on Thursday,  January 19, the 13th day of the trial which began two weeks previously, and Henry was convicted by a majority verdict of 10 jurors to two.

The trial revealed hitherto unknown details of the robbery, including the robbers holding a 'Rambo knife' to Cavendish's throat and threatening to stab him during the ordeal, while it was also revealed two suspects in the robbery still remained at large.

Two Richard Mille watches, with a value of £300,000 and £400,000 respectively, were stolen in the robbery after three masked men broke into Cavendish’s family home in Essex in what was described as a 'well-executed planned invasion'. 

The jurors at the trial heard that the robbers threatened to stab Cavendish in front of his wife and the couple’s three-year-old son, who was hidden beneath a duvet by his mother Peta.

At the time, Cavendish was recovering from a crash suffered at the Gent Six which left him with two broken ribs and a collapsed lung. He had been "out of hospital for about four days maybe," Peta said during the trial.

The three robbers made away with the two high-end watches, the couple's phones, and Louis Vuitton suitcases. They ordered the couple to open the gates of the home before leaving at 2:32 a.m.

However, Cavendish's phone was later found outside the house, which aided the investigation when DNA on the phone was matched to Sesay, who pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery while Henry and Okorosobo denied charges of robbery.

In a statement following the court hearing, Mark Cavendish and Peta Todd described "reliving" the experience as "incredibly difficult", the BBC reports. (opens in new tab)

"What happened that night is something that no family should ever have to go through," the couple said.

"Although nothing can ever erase what our family went through, there is now some comfort that two men who broke into our family home and stole from us, assaulted Mark and terrified our children, are now convicted and will be facing what we hope will be an appropriate sentence for their actions and we hope moves some steps in preventing this horror happening to another innocent family."

Romario Henry will be sentenced on February 7.

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Peter Stuart

Peter Stuart has been editor of Cyclingnews since March 2022, overseeing editorial output across all of Cyclingnews' digital touchpoints.

Before joining Cyclingnews, Peter was the digital editor of Rouleur magazine. Starting life as a freelance feature writer, with bylines in The Times and The Telegraph, he first entered cycling journalism in 2012, joining Cyclist magazine as staff writer. Peter has a background as an international rower, representing Great Britain at Under-23 level and at the Junior Rowing World Championships.