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London hotel hammer attacks: Philip Spence guilty

Philip Spence had admitted the attack but denied attempted murder

A man who beat three sisters with a claw hammer in a London hotel while their children slept alongside them has been found guilty of attempted murder.

Philip Spence, 32, bludgeoned the trio from the United Arab Emirates in the Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch, on 6 April, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Spence had admitted the attack, but denied attempted murder.

One of his victims was hit with such force her skull split open. She was left with just 5% brain function.

Lost eye

Ohoud Al-Najjar, 34, was repeatedly hit as her nine-year-old nephew hid under the sheets next to her in bed, the prosecutor Simon Mayo QC said.

She survived the attack, but despite undergoing emergency neurosurgery she can no longer speak and lost one eye.

Her sisters Khulood, 36, and Fatima, 31, were also left with life threatening injuries and are still having medical treatment.

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The family was visiting London on holiday.

In an impact statement, Fatima said seeing her sister Ohoud “breaks my heart.”.

“She is now confined to a hospital bed for the rest of her life and unable to communicate, eat, see, move,” she said.

“She can only squeeze my hand; she is a living dead sister.”

Khulood and Fatima said they had been medically retired from their jobs because of their injuries, saying Spence “took away our futures”.

The Cumberland Hotel
The three sisters were attacked at the Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch on 6 April


Spence, from Harlesden in north-west London, was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, as was Thomas Efremi, 57, from Islington.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC told Spence he could face life in prison for the attacks.


The level of violence Spence chose to use was extraordinary”

Cdr Mak Chishty

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Met Police

‘Blood everywhere’

The court heard the women had left their hotel rooms unlocked on the night of the attack to allow a fourth sister to return.

Spence was spotted by one of the sisters rifling through handbags at about 01:30 BST.

He then attacked Khulood as she shared a bed with her two young daughters, and turned his hammer on her sister Fatima, leaving them both unconscious, the court heard.

image of the claw hammer
Spence dumped the claw hammer used in the attack just outside the four-star hotel


The fourth sister Sheika Al-Mheiri described to the jury how she returned to find her sisters injured on the floor with “blood everywhere”.

Spence, a drug addict, ran from the scene with a suitcase containing iPads, gold jewellery and mobile phones.

He dumped the claw hammer just outside the four-star hotel.

Cdr Mak Chishty, from the Met Police, said Spence’s attack had “changed the lives of a family forever”.

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He said: “The level of violence Spence chose to use was extraordinary, and completely unnecessary for him to steal, as he had set out to do that night.”

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