A masked robber who was part of a group who broke into Ashley Cole’s home, tied up the former England footballer and threatened to cut off his fingers has been jailed for 30 years.
Kurtis Dilks was one of a group who secured Mr Cole’s hands behind his back in front of his children after smashing into the Surrey home with a sledgehammer two years ago.
Cole, a former Chelsea, Arsenal and Derby defender, told the trial he thought he was “going to die” during the raid.
Dilks was found guilty of the attack on Cole last week. Nottingham Crown Court heard he was the only robber involved in the raid to be caught after his DNA was found on cable ties used to restrain Cole and his partner.
The 35-year-old newspaper courier from Nottingham was jailed for 30 years on Friday. He was also ordered to serve an extended licence period of five years.
Judge James Sampson said the attack on the footballer’s home in January 2020 was “extremely terrifying”.
“The psychological impact on Mr Cole and Ms Canu, as with all of your victims, cannot be overstated,” he told Dilks.
The 35-year-old had also been convicted alongside five others for a string of “ruthlessly executed robberies” between October 2018 and January 2020.
Ahead of Friday’s sentencing, a prosecutor read a statement from Cole which said the image of that night “remains and impacts everything”.
“The terror and confusion on my children’s face is something that will never leave me,” he said.
Cole’s partner, Sharon Canu, recalled how she tried to hide in a wardrobe with her son as her fiance was tied up and her daughter pleaded for comfort.
“That will never leave me,” her statement - also read out by a prosecutor - added.
Judge James Sampson praised the “courage and resilience” of Cole and Ms Canu, as well as all the other victims, as he handed down the sentence.
Additional reporting by Press Association