Canonbury man guilty of conspiracy to commit horrific claw hammer burglary

A CCTV image given to the jury of Thomas Efremi paying cash for a purchase at a Vodafone Store in Is

A CCTV image given to the jury of Thomas Efremi paying cash for a purchase at a Vodafone Store in Islington - Credit: PA

A man from Canonbury has been found guilty of helping to plan a horrific robbery in which three women’s heads were split open with a claw hammer.

Neofitos “Thomas” Efremi, 57, of Upper Handa Walk, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday.

Another man, Philip Spence, was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder by the jury of seven men and one woman.

Spence, a drug addict who had previously been convicted of punching a female Islington Council worker unconscious over a housing complaint, savagely beat three female tourists round the head after creeping into their room at the four-star Cumberland hotel in April, leaving them for dead.

One of his victims, Ohoud Al-Najjar, 34, was repeatedly hit with such force her skull split open as her nine-year-old nephew cowered under the sheets next to her, prosecutor Simon Mayo QC said.

She survived the attack, but was left with just five per cent brain function, can no longer speak and lost one eye.


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Her sisters Khulood, 36, and Fatima, 31, were both also left with life threatening injuries and are still having medical treatment.

He fled the scene with a suitcase stuffed with iPads, gold jewellery and mobile phones, and dumped the claw hammer just outside the Marble Arch hotel.

In the minutes after the attack, Spence was captured on CCTV getting on a bus with the suitcase of valuables and is believed to have travelled to Efremi’s home, the court heard.

The jury heard he was being held at Islington police station after his arrest on April 10, Spence told officers: “You know the only person you should be holding is Tom.”

After the verdict was read out, Efremi, who walks with a crutch, began pacing around the dock and said to the dock officer: “I’ll kill him [Spence]. He stitched me up.”

He then turned to a detective in the public gallery and swore at him.

Efremi had earlier pleaded guilty to fraud after admitting withdrawing thousands of pounds from stolen credit cards.

Both men were remanded in custody to be sentenced on November 17 at Southwark crown Court.

A pre-sentence report will be a carried for Spence, of Abbeyfields Close, Harlesden.