Man standing trial for brutal hammer attacked punched female Islington Council officer, court hears

Court doors

Court doors - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

A man standing trial for a brutal hammer robbery which left a woman’s brain oozing out of her skull had previously punched a female Islington Council worker unconscious at the town hall, a court heard.

Philip Spence, 32, brutally attacked three female tourists in front of their young relatives at a posh West End hotel and left them for dead during a night time raid in April, Southwark Crown Court were told.

Spence, who admits GBH but denies attempted murder, is said to have hit Ohoud Al-Najjar so hard her skull “cracked like an egg” and brain tissue the size of a tennis ball was protruding from her skull.

She lost part of her brain, can no longer speak and had to have one eye removed and is never expected to recover from the attack.

Her two sisters, Khulood Al-Najjar and Fatima Al-Najjar, who were with her on family holiday from the United Arab Emirates, also suffered fractured skulls during the “vicious and sustained attack”.

The paramedic who attended the scene said she had “never seen such excessive violence used before”.

Sheika Al-Mheiri, the younger half-sister of the women, missed the assault by minutes, having gone to visit her brother who was staying on another floor of the hotel.

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As she walked back along the corridor she heard her two young nieces screaming from inside the room.

“(My niece) had a lot of blood on her night clothes,” she told the court via video link from Abu Dhabi.

“I saw the blood but still I am confused about what’s happening.

“Then I saw her (Ohoud’s) head. Half of her head was damaged, I thought she was dead.”

Spence, a drug addict, then alledgedly made off with a suitcase of valuables, including iPads, jewellery and £1,500.

He also standing trial for conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary alongside Thomas Efremi, 57, from Upper Handa Walk, Canonbury.

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

While 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.”

Efremi, who denies the conspiracy charge but has admitted one count of fraud in relation to the case, shook his head in the dock as the statement was read out and looked away from Spence, who stared straight ahead.

Spence, from Abbeyfields Close, Harlesden, denies attempted murder conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.

The trial continues.

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