Alperton man convicted of the attempted murder of three sisters

Phillip Spence

Phillip Spence - Credit: Archant

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 Efremi

Thomas Efremi - Credit: Archant

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 attack

The claw hammer used in the attack - Credit: Archant


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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.

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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 shop

Efremi in a Vodfone shop - Credit: Archant

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.

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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