Alperton man convicted of the attempted murder of three sisters

PUBLISHED: 17:27 21 October 2014 | UPDATED: 17:31 21 October 2014

Phillip Spence

Phillip Spence


An Alperton man faces a lengthy jail sentence for the attempted murder of three sisters during a burglary they slept in their London hotel room.

Thomas EfremiThomas Efremi

Phillip Spence, from Abbeyfields Close, admitted attacking the women with a claw hammer during a burglary at the Cumberland Hotel in the early hours of April 6 this year, but denied trying to kill them.

Today at Southwark Crown Court, a jury found him guilty of three counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated burglary.

Thomas Efremi, 57, from Islington, who supplied Spence with the claw hammer, was convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.

The pair had agreed that Spence would steal from hotel bedrooms and they would share the proceeds.

The claw hammer used in the attackThe claw hammer used in the attack

The court heard that the victims arrived in London from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) three days before the attack on a family holiday.

On April 5 they went sightseeing before returning to the hotel at around 5.30pm and retiring to their beds.

Just after 1am Spence entered via a door to the corridor of their shared room which had been left on the latch to allow a fourth sister to come and go.

He was rifling through a bag which woke Khuloud, 37, who was in bed with her two daughters aged nine and 11.

Efremi in a Vodfone shopEfremi in a Vodfone shop

He approached her and demanded money before repeatedly hitting her on the head with the claw hammer until she lost consciousness.

She underwent emergency neurosurgery for multiple skull fractures and also suffered a fractured arm and underwent surgery to reconstruct facial bones.

Her screams woke her sister Fatima, 31, who tried to stop Spence but was also hit unconscious with the hammer.

She needed surgery after sustaining multiple skull fractures and damage to her ear, arm and facial nerves.

Impact statement from Khuloud

My emotions are still very raw. Everything in my life has changed forever. That night I lost everything, my way of life, my sister Ohoud and also my ability to care for my children as much as I would like. I have also lost my job, as I am now medically retired due to my inability to do my job due to the injuries I suffered.

I am simply not myself anymore. I feel very lonely and have lay in a hospital bed without my sister, children and family. I am extremely upset and emotional. I cannot sleep for anxiety and flashbacks of the sounds of my children screaming. I have a plethora of medication, not to mention the numerous operations I have had. My looks have changed forever; I am not even the same person when I look in the mirror. I have been left without the full use of my left hand, and this is something that will never recover.

I am now dependant on other people, to help me wash, to drive me to assist me when I walk. I now am fearful of strangers and do not feel comfortable when I am alone. When that man attacked myself and my sisters, and stole our belongings, he took far more than our property; he took away our futures, things that I had planned; dreams that I had for my family and children.

He also stole my children’s innocence. They will never view the world in the same way. They do not trust anyone. They are now fearful to be alone and do not want to leave home. Nora and Fatima cry in their sleep and cannot sleep alone. T

he full impact on the children cannot be fully comprehended until they grow up.

Ohoud has lost everything. I recall the moment when I was told she was going to pass away and feeling as though I did not want to live without her. She is now bound to a hospital bed for the rest of her life unable to communicate, to have a family and become the woman she was destined to be.

My sister Fatima and I both feel very strongly about what is considered to be justice for Phillip Spence. I will say that 100 years in prison will not be enough. It means nothing to me that he will be in prison, I want him to feel the pain he has caused us and believe vehemently in an eye for an eye as is the justice in my own country. While I respect the laws of the UK I cannot say I feel justice will be done simply by sending him to prison.

He has never once shown any ounce of remorse; his sole concern has been for himself and to find someway of getting away with what he did. He has never given any explanation for his actions nor taken any responsibility. I will never ever forgive him, and sincerely hope that one day he feels the full burden for what he has done.

The third sister, Ohoud, 34, who was asleep in the adjoining room with her nine-year-old nephew, suffered the most brutal attack.

She was hit with such force that her skull was split open; she lost part of her brain, can no longer speak and had to have one eye removed.

She is never expected to recover from her injuries.

The alarm was raised by the fourth sister who returned to the room to find her sisters gravely injured and nieces and nephew covered in blood.

Having left the sisters for dead, Spence stole a suitcase of valuables which included cash, credit cards, mobile phones, watches and iPads.

He made his way to Efremi’s home by bus, calling him en route using Khuloud’s phone.

Ten minutes later he left and used the stolen bank cards to withdrawal £5,000 in 10 transactions while taking a minicab.

Later that day Spence took the stolen property to James Moss and Efremi used some of the withdrawn cash to make purchases at Vodafone and Sports Direct store.

They were snared by detectives from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command who meticulously trawled through 330 hours of CCTV from 200 separate cameras from the hotel and beyond.

Efremi’s DNA was found on the blood-stained hammer discovered on an external window ledge in the seventh floor fire exit stairwell of the hotel.

After he was arrested a brown leather jacket and blazer worn by Spence during the attack were found in his home.

The items were forensically examined and found to contain DNA belonging to Spence, Efremi, Ohoud and Khulood.

Foster, from Holloway, admitted handling stolen good.

All three will be sentenced on November 18.

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