LONDON // A paramedic who was one of the first on the scene at the Cumberland Hotel likened one of the Emirati sisters’ heads to a cracked egg after the vicious claw-hammer attack.
London Ambulance Service paramedic Joanna Griffin said she had not previously witnessed such violence before, despite working for the service as a paramedic in the UK capital for four and a half years.
Speaking of Ohoud Al Najjar’s injuries at Southwark Crown Court yesterday, Ms Griffin said: “If you crack an egg, obviously the inside of the egg gets misplaced on to the outside and that is what it looked like had happened.
“I assumed it was a huge force that would make that kind of injury.”
Ms Griffin, who has worked with the London Ambulance Service for nearly nine years, including her present spell as a paramedic, told jurors she had “never seen such excessive violence” before.
“I could see there were blood spatters on the wall ahead of me. That is another indicator of how much force those blows had been to how serious her injuries were,” she said.
When Ms Griffin first entered room 7007 in the Marble Arch hotel, she found Fatima Al Najjar on the floor.
“Everybody was very quiet, very shocked and frightened,” she said. “She was, as far as I could tell, face up – it was difficult because she had long hair covering her face and I could see, even in the darkness, lots of blood matter over her face.
“She was moving and she was moaning, moaning in pain; it was just a low moaning.”
Ms Griffin then caught sight of Khuloud Al Najjar, who was sitting against the bed with a police officer. In the adjoining room Ohoud lay on a mattress, moving and making a snoring sound as she struggled to breathe, jurors were told.
“When I entered there was a patient [Ohoud] and there were children in that room, at least one child in that room.
“They were standing around the bed and just looking at the patient, who was on the bed in quiet shock. No one was speaking, no one was talking.
“I could see there was blood all around her neck and around her head.”
Ohoud was in cardiac arrest when Ms Griffin arrived on the scene, and moving her hands towards her head. “She never spoke but I was mindful that she may still be able to hear me, so I spoke to her and said: ‘Try to keep your hands away from your face’. Both her arms and her legs were moving,” said Ms Griffin.
“I thought she was putting her hands towards her face as if she had some awareness of what had happened or what was happening – she wasn’t unconscious.”
Ohoud’s eye was so swollen it was “impossible” to open it, jurors heard. The eye had, in fact, ruptured and was so severely damaged it later had to be removed.
She had also been struck in the mouth with the hammer and her mouth was full of blood. Ohoud was rushed to St Mary’s Hospital, in Paddington, for emergency surgery. She is not expected to make a full recovery.