A gang member who broke into footballer Ashley Cole's home and threatened to cut his fingers off has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. Kurtis Dilks, who was part of a four-strong gang which smashed into the home of former England footballer Ashley Cole and threatened to cut off his fingers, was jailed at Nottingham Crown Court for 30 years, with a five-year extended licence period. It came after the former England footballer said the "terror and confusion" on his children's faces when the group of men broke in, tied him up and threatened to cut off his fingers "will never leave me".

Cole's personal statement was read out in court on Friday as a judge prepared to jail Dilks - one of the men involved in the raid in January 2020. Judge James Sampson praised the "courage and resilience" of Cole and his partner Sharon Canu, as well as all the other victims of the gang. He told Dilks that the psychological impact on Mr Cole and Ms Canu, as with all of his victims, cannot be overstated.

The judge told Nottingham Crown Court the attack on the footballer's home was "extremely terrifying" and described the gang as "intelligent, violent and chillingly ruthless men". Dilks' trial heard how Cole told police he thought "now I am going to die" as he recalled how the masked raiders tied his hands behind his back despite him holding his young daughter. Dilks was the only one of the gang responsible for the robbery to be caught after his DNA was recovered on the cable ties used to restrain Cole and Ms Canu.
He was convicted alongside five others for their roles in a string of what prosecutors said were ruthlessly executed robberies and burglaries between October 2018 and January 2020. As well as the attack on Cole, Dilks was found guilty of conspiring to rob the wife of former Tottenham, Hull and Derby midfielder Tom Huddlestone in May 2019 with fellow defendants Ashley Cumberpatch and Andrew MacDonald.