Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 27 November 2020

Man denies trying to murder three Emirati sisters in horror London attack

Philip Spence, 32, is charged with attacking them with a hammer in their room at the Cumberland Hotel, central London, on April 6.
Three Emirati sisters were attacked while staying at the Cumberland Hotel in the Marble Arch area of London. Randi Sokoloff for The National
Three Emirati sisters were attacked while staying at the Cumberland Hotel in the Marble Arch area of London. Randi Sokoloff for The National

A man has denied trying to murder three Emirati sisters in a horrific hammer attack at an upmarket London hotel.

Philip Spence, 32, is charged with attacking them with a hammer in their room at the Cumberland Hotel, central London, on April 6.

He was one of four people who appeared in court on Thursday in connection with the incident.

Ohoud Al Najjar, 34, suffered life-threatening head injuries and lost her left eye in the attack. Doctors have said she has been left with only 5 per cent brain function.

Her sisters Khuloud, 36, and Fatima, 31, also suffered serious injuries, including skull fractures.

Mr Spence appeared at Southwark Crown Court and denied three counts of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary and aggravated burglary.

It is believed £1,000 (Dh6,293) of goods were stolen. Another £5,000 was taken from one of the women’s bank accounts in 10 withdrawals.

The three sisters were visiting the capital from the UAE to enjoy sightseeing and shopping, having arrived in London a few days before the incident.

A co-defendant, Thomas Efremi, 56, appeared in court via video-link and admitted fraud by making 10 withdrawals totalling £5,000 using stolen bank cards.

James Moss, 33, and Carly Baker, 31, also appeared at the court on Thursday and pleaded not guilty to handling stolen goods including mobile phones, handbags and jewellery.

Mr Moss and Ms Baker were released on conditional bail, while Mr Spence and Mr Efremi were remanded in custody.

The four live in London and will return to court on October 6.

This week, London’s Metropolitan Police moved to reassure visitors from the UAE that the city is safe.

Following the hammer attack and a separate and unrelated assault on an Emirati couple this year, Metropolitan Police chiefs said the incidents were “shocking but rare”.

“London is safe, especially in those areas and the police presence is high,” said Makhdum Chishty, Met commander for West London.

The British capital is traditionally popular with Emiratis and people from the wider region seeking to escape the heat of summer.

Last year there was a record number of 590,000 visits from GCC countries, 262,000 of which were by Emiratis.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

Updated: July 3, 2014 04:00 AM

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