Life sentence for Alperton hotel hammer attacker
- Credit: Archant
An Alperton man who attacked three sisters with a claw hammer during a robbery in their hotel room has been jailed for life.
Phillip Spence, from Abbeyfields Close, bludgeoned his victims so violently that one of them 34-year-old Ohoud will never fully recover from her injuries.
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.
Today at the Old Bailey Spence, who admitted the attack on April 6 but had denied trying to kill them, was sentenced to three life sentences for each count of attempted murder, to run concurrently, with a minimum tariff of 18 years.
At his trial last month, jurors heard Spence and Thomas Efremi, 57, from Islington, had plotted to steal from hotel bedrooms and they would share the proceeds.
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The victims had arrived in the UK three days earlier from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and had been sight-seeing before returning to their hotel.
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.
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He was rifling through a bag which woke Khuloud, 37, who was in bed with her two daughters aged nine and 11.
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.
Ohoud was asleep in the adjoining room with her nine-year-old nephew when she sustained the most sever attack.
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.
Efremi was sentenced to 14 years in jail for conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, and two years and three months for fraud - sentences to run concurrently.
Moss, from Holloway, previously pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and was sentenced to 21 months suspended for two years.
He has also been placed on a curfew and tagged for four months.
DCI Andy Chalmers, investigating officer, said: “The seriousness of Philip Spence’s crime is reflected in the sentence he has received today.
“The level of violence Spence chose to use was extraordinary, and completely unnecessary for him to steal, as he had set out to do that night.
“Our thoughts remain with the women he nearly killed and I would like to pay tribute to them. They showed immense courage and fortitude in giving evidence to the court and the support they and their representatives have shown the police during the investigation was never faltering.
“I would like to give reassurance that an incident of this nature is thankfully very, very rare and the victims were not specifically targeted, followed or attacked because they are from the UAE.”