ASHLEY Cole broke down in tears as he told police how he believed he was going "to die" when raiders smashed their way into his mansion.
Giving evidence over the jewel raid at his home, the ex-England footballer, 41, said he decided not to hide.
Instead he clung onto his baby daughter in the hope the masked robbers would "not be angry".
He told the court he was cowering in the dressing room of his Surrey mansion when a thug with an Irish accent raced in and told him “get the f*** up”.
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Cole told Nottingham crown court: “I was shouting from my bedroom balcony, ‘help me, help me’.
“They charged at my bedroom window. But this time I knew ‘I am going to die’.
“It was me and my kids in the house with no-one to help.”
The defender, who was targeted just hours after playing for Chelsea, added: “I thought if I hide maybe they are going to be more angry.
They charged at my bedroom window. But this time I knew ‘I am going to die’.
“Maybe if I have my baby on me, maybe they won’t be angry.”
Nottingham crown court previously heard Cole's Surrey home was targeted in January 2020 as the sportsman and his fiancée Sharon Canu watched Netflix.
Reliving the raid, Cole today (Tuesday) said: “I just heard footsteps running up the stairs.
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“I thought I had to be calm and not show I was scared. I didn’t want to show my daughter I was scared for my life.
“I was in my walk-in wardrobe waiting for them to come in. One came in and told me ‘get the f*** up’.”
Cole added: “He said give me your jewels and kettles [watches], take me to your f***ing safe.”
“One grabbed me by the neck with my daughter still in my hands.
“He said, ‘let go of the baby, get up’. I said, ‘no, I’m not going to leave my baby’.”
Cole added: “My daughter was getting pushed. She was clinging to me and holding my chest.
“I said, ‘just take everything and leave me and my family alone.
“Another guy came in and he had my partner with him, she was shouting ‘leave him alone’.”
The court heard the raiders used a hammer to smash bifold doors before restraining ex-England footballer Cole and fiancée Sharon Canu, mum to their son and daughter, with cable ties.
Cole said today: “I was just thinking, ‘what is going on? What is going to happen?’
“In my head I was like, ‘I’m going to lose this battle because I don’t have a lot in the house. I don’t have lots of jewellery. I don’t have a safe."
Cole added in a recorded video statement: “My son saw me being tied up with my hands behind my back. I looked at his face and he was just white.”
The court heard Cole had returned from playing for Chelsea against Fulham when the attack took place.
My son saw me being tied up with my hands behind my back. I looked at his face and he was just white.
He and his fiancee heard smashing at the property and he looked at CCTV cameras linked to his phone.
The star today said he turned to Sharon and said: “That is why I should keep a weapon in the house, a golf club in he bedroom.”
The court previously heard the masked gang led the former Cole around his mansion in just a pair of shorts during the terrifying ordeal.
One raider with an Irish accent manhandled the star and demanded to know where the jewellery, "kettles" -— slang for watches —- and safes were.
The raid came after a motorbike followed him on the school run and Ms Canu saw a suspicious Audi, the court heard.
STALKED BY GANG
Prosecutor Michael Brady QC said the couple were watching a film when Cole heard a noise, checked security cameras and saw two people carrying a ladder.
Cole -— once wed to singer Cheryl Tweedy -— is said to have locked doors and told Ms Canu to call 999.
She raced to her son's bedroom and hid with him in a wardrobe, while Cole protected his daughter in her room.
Ms Canu heard footsteps then one of the robbers opened the wardrobe door and took the phone from her while she was talking to police.
Ms Canu then saw Mr Cole on his knees with his hands tied behind his back.
CCTV was shown of the gang marching Cole up and down stairs.
Police arrived and the gang fled with five watches, phones, cash, a Gucci bag and a BMW smart key.
Alleged gang member Kurtis Dilks, 34, of Clifton, Notts, denies robbery in relation to that raid.
Another alleged gang member is also accused of having raided the home of Hull City's Tom Huddlestone and have links to the 2018 theft of a £3.5million tiara.
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Eleven people are on trial over a range of other offences — some linked to the theft of the tiara from the Welbeck Estate, Notts, in 2018.
Those charged with other offences include Tevfik Guccuk, 39, and Sercan Evsin, 25, who deny converting criminal property.
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