Canonbury man who helped plan brutal Cumberland Hotel hammer attack jailed for 14 years

Thomas Efremi was jailed for 14 years

Thomas Efremi was jailed for 14 years - Credit: Archant

A Canonbury man who helped plan a horrific robbery in which three women’s heads were split open with a claw hammer has been jailed for 14 years.

The claw hammer used in the attack, supplied by Efremi

The claw hammer used in the attack, supplied by Efremi - Credit: Archant

Neofitos “Thomas” Efremi, 57, of Upper Handa Walk, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the aggravated burglary last month after the attack at the four-star Cumberland Hotel in April in which three sisters from the United Arab Emirates were left for dead.

He was sentenced today along with Philip Spence, 33, who bludgeoned the three wealthy tourists in front of their young children and will serve a minimum of 18 years for attempted murder.

Spence – from Harlesden – hit one of his victims, Ohoud Al-Najjar, 34, with such force her skull split open as her nine-year-old nephew cowered under the sheets next to her.

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

Phillip Spence has been jailed for life

Phillip Spence has been jailed for life - Credit: Archant


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Her sisters Khulood, 36, and Fatima, 31, were both also left with life threatening injuries.

Spence fled the scene with a suitcase stuffed with iPads, gold jewellery and mobile phones, and dumped the claw hammer – which was supplied by Efremi – just outside the Marble Arch hotel.

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In the minutes after the attack, he was captured on CCTV getting on a bus with the suitcase of valuables and travelled to Efremi’s Canonbury home at about 2.45am.

Just 10 minutes after Spence arrived, Efremi left to use the stolen bank cards to withdrawn cash. He took a minicab to a number of cashpoints and made ten withdrawals totalling £5,000.

In victim impact statements read to the court, Fatima Al-Najjar said the injuries to Ohoud had left her with a “living dead sister”.

“On that night I lost everything,” she said. “My sister Ohoud received horrific injuries which she will never be able to recover from. She is confined to a hospital bed for the rest of her life. She is a living dead sister. Seeing Ohoud like this breaks my heart.”

Efremi was told by Judge Anthony Leonard QC that he would serve half of his term before being released on licence.

A third man, James Moss, 34, of Hanley Road, Finsbury Park, previously pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and was today sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, suspended for two years. Moss will also be subjected to a curfew and tagged for four months.

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