Robbers who raided Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish and his wife Peta's home were looking for a £2million watch he was photographed wearing at an awards ceremony.
Romario Henry, 31, and the intruders who smashed into the couple's £700,000 home in the Ongar area of Essex were hunting for a Richard Mille blue sapphire watch.
The timepiece – which the court was told had been loaned to Cavendish, 37, for the 2021 GQ Awards – is thought to be a limited edition worth at least £2million, with another version worn by Jay-Z.
Confusion erupted among the robbers when they realised the accessory was not at the property, yelling 'that's not it' when the Olympian and his wife showed them their other Mille items worth £400,000 and £300,000.
The picture that prompted the armed raid, showing Mark Cavendish wearing the £2m watch
The timepiece was said to be a type of Richard Mille blue sapphire watch loaned for the night
After the trial, it emerged Henry was under surveillance by the Metropolitan Police in the days before the robbery.
According to The Times, Scotland Yard and Essex police refused to comment and would not explain why Henry was being watched.
During the trial, Cavendish told jurors he was a brand ambassador for Richard Mille and was sometimes loaned timepieces to wear.
Barrister Edward Renvoize said there was a photograph of him at the GQ Awards wearing a Richard Mille watch – not one of the two stolen – which was 'partially covered' by his sleeve.
The watch was mentioned again in proceedings by Archangelo Power, who was representing Henry, who said intruders may have been looking for the blue sapphire watch.
Yesterday Henry was found guilty of the knifepoint raid at the property in November 2021, following a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Jay-Z is pictured with his Richard Mille blue sapphire timepiece, worth an estimated £2.6m
A Richard Mille rm 56-02 tourbillon sapphire watch similar to the one Cavendish was loaned
Romario Henry, 31 (left) and Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, during their trial at Chelmsford Crown Court. Henry has been found guilty of the robbery at the home of Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish in November 2021. His co-defendant Okorosobo denied two counts of robbery and was cleared by the jury
The Olympic cyclist, 37, was asleep alongside his wife Peta (pictured together) when balaclava-clad burglars broke into his home
Cavendish had been asleep with his wife when balaclava-clad burglars broke into their home at around 2.30am on November 27, 2021, and threatened to stab him.
Henry had denied two counts of robbery but was found guilty on both counts by a majority verdict of ten jurors to two after 14 hours and 35 minutes of deliberation.
His co-defendant Oludewa Okorosobo, 28, of Camberwell, south London, denied two counts of robbery and was cleared by the jury.
Okorosobo, who held his head in his hands as he was cleared, had earlier told jurors he was stabbed in the leg on September 16, 2021 – months before the robbery.
He said in a prepared statement to police in December that year that he was 'unable to do any' of the alleged offences,and that 'any human could see I'm incapable of doing this'.
He also said he had loaned his mobile phone, which connected with cell masts in Ongar on the night, to a man who has admitted robbery.
Okorosobo said he did not go to the Cavendishes' address and was not with his phone, but had let Ali Sesay borrow it to use a navigation app.
Henry, meanwhile, who showed no visible reaction as he was convicted.
He will be sentenced on February 7 along with Sesay, of Rainham, Kent, who admitted two counts of robbery at an earlier hearing.
CCTV issued by Essex Police of one of the watches stolen by armed intruders during the break-in
The court heard that the intruders also took Mrs Cavendish's £300,000 Richard Mille watch that had been on her bedside table
Cavendish robbery suspect still on the run
Jo Jobson (pictured), 26, has been on the run for a year after the November 2021 attack
A man who has been linked to the robbery of Mark Cavendish 'shaved all his hair off' to avoid being caught by police, it has been claimed.
Suspected gangster, Jo Jobson, was spotted near his home just two weeks ago while police have worked to track him following the attack on the Olympic cyclist, The Telegraph reports.
It was alleged that the 26-year-old has laid low in east London and shaved his red hair to avoid being recognised by officers.
Police are still looking for Jobson as well as another suspect of the 2021 attack that saw balaclava-clad burglars break into Cavendish's Essex home.
A woman who knows Jobson told the newspaper: 'He was staying somewhere in Canning Town two Saturdays ago.
'They moved him on to Liverpool and shaved all his hair off. I don't know if he's gone to Liverpool definitely, but that's what the boys were saying.'
In 2021, the British cyclist was alseep alongside his wife Peta when burglars broke into his home in the Ongar area of Essex.
Cavendish was beaten in front of his wife while a number of items were stolen - including two phones and a safe - costing a total of £700,000.
Last year police reportedly raided the home of Jobson but he was not there at the time, with some suspecting he was tipped off.
The trial was told that 28-year-old Sesay's DNA was found on the phone of Peta Cavendish, which was taken and found outside the property.
Mrs Cavendish, who like her husband was naked during the robbery, had told jurors she had heard a noise that woke her in the night and went downstairs to investigate.
She recalled seeing 'men's figures in balaclavas, and they were running towards the bottom of the stairs', and believed there were 'between three and five' intruders.
Then she ran back to the bedroom shouting 'get back' or 'get in' to her husband, who was unable to activate a panic alarm.
He had attempted to reach the alarm, but was jumped on by an intruder who started to punch him in the head.
Mrs Cavendish told the trial that her husband was 'dragged from his feet' before he was assaulted.
She told of how one intruder had her husband in a headlock, before adding: 'One of them held a large black knife to his throat and they said, "where's the watches" and "do you want me to stab you?'''
She agreed with a suggestion that it was a Rambo-style knife, while Cavendish said in his evidence that it 'wasn't a knife you have in a kitchen'.
'It was black and had holes in it', he said, adding: 'It was a weapon.'
Mrs Cavendish said that at the time her husband had been 'out of hospital for four days maybe' following a cycling crash which had left him with three broken ribs and a tear to his left lung.
She added: 'They were very specific about a watch.
'I tried to explain that actually we were broken into a couple of years previously, everything has been taken.'
Her husband then showed the intruders where the safe was, the court heard.
'It was becoming more frantic as they weren't getting what they wanted. They kept saying 'there must be cash, there must be jewellery'', she added.
Mrs Cavendish told the court that the intruders did not take her engagement ring or wedding ring or a necklace, though they had said 'show me your wrists, as if maybe I was wearing a watch'.
The court heard that the men turned the bedroom 'upside down' and that when they left, Cavendish pressed a panic alarm to alert a private security firm and the police.
Jurors were told that two further men, Jo Jobson, from Plaistow, east London, and George Goddard, from Loughton in Essex, have been named as suspects in the case but have not been apprehended.
In a statement following the conviction today Cavendish and his wife Peta said that 'nothing can ever erase what our family went through'.
The statement added: 'Reliving our family's experience from that night in November 2021 has been an incredibly difficult experience.
'What happened that night is something that no family should ever have to go through.
'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.'
Speaking outside court, Detective Inspector Tony Atkin, of Essex Police, said: 'Today, we have two men now convicted of an incredibly violent robbery in the family home of Mark and Peta Cavendish; somewhere where they should have felt safe and protected from men like Sesay and Henry.
'This was a traumatic incident, made all the worse by the fact that it happened in the presence of the couple's young children. The bravery the family has shown in the face of this incident has been humbling.
'Although Mark sustained serious injuries, thankfully he has now made a full recovery and is able to focus on his fantastic career.
'I made a promise to them very early in this investigation that Essex Police would do all it could to catch the people responsible for invading their home and bring them to justice.
He also made an appeal to camera for Jobson and Goddard to hand themselves in, adding: 'Today, two men are facing a significant amount of time in prison for their actions.
'But we won't stop there; two men who we would really like to speak to about this investigation remain outstanding.'
'Jo Jobson and George Goddard are those men. Although I can't go into significant detail, we are following a number of lines of enquiry in order to locate them. The actions we believe they are responsible for cannot go unpunished.
'I would like to appeal to Jo Jobson and to George Goddard to hand themselves in.
'If not, I will say this: we will pursue you. It is in your interests to hand yourselves in. You can only hide for so long.'