London hotel hammer attack man gets life in jail

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A man who was found guilty of a brutal attack with a hammer on three Emirati sisters during a robbery at a hotel in London has been sentenced to life in jail and will serve a minimum of 18 years in prison.

Philip Spence assaulted the three sisters at the four-star Cumberland hotel in central London on April 6 this year and hit one of them, Ohoud al-Najjar, so hard that her skull spilt open.

She has been left with just 5% brain function, can no longer speak and can only see out of one eye.

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Her sisters Khulood and Fatima are also still receiving treatment and recovering from life-threatening injuries from the incident.

The Guardian reports that 33-year-old Spence already had 37 convictions for 62 offences dating back to 1993, including a hammer attack on his landlord in 2007.

Sentencing him, Anthony Leonard QC said: “It is nothing short of a miracle combined with the finest medical attention that led to Ohoud surviving the attack. You used deliberate and gratuitous violence over what was needed to carry out the robbery.

“Hardened police officers and paramedics who attended the scene said what they saw was horrendous and the worst they had seen across their careers.”

Mitigating the circumstances of the attack, Spence’s barrister, William Nash, said that the attacker, who had left the scene of the crime with iPads, gold jewellery and mobile phones before dumping them outside the hotel, had consumed a large amount of drugs at the time of the incident.

“He didn’t know of any other crackhead as big as him,” he said.

“He can’t forgive himself. He describes himself as being a totally different person. He is not unempathetic.”

However, both Fatima and Khulood al-Najjar spoke emotionally about the devastating impact the attack had had on them and their families, and especially their children, who witnessed it.

“They will never trust anyone,” said Khulood al-Najjar. “They are fearful about leaving home. They cannot sleep alone.”

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