Saturday, April 12, 2014

UK: Update--Hammer Attack on UAE Family, One Victim Left with Only 5% of Brain Function

According to, one of the three victims of the hammer attack at London's Cumberland Hotel on Sunday (April 6) lost her eye and was left with only 5% of her brain function, police said on Saturday.

The three Emirati sisters had come to London for shopping and sightseeing. The women had visited high-end stores in the West End on Saturday, according to AFP.

"Doctors have assessed that she has only 5% brain function, although her other organs are in good working function," he added, without elaborating further.

Another sister suffered two fractures to her skull, a broken left arm and a fractured cheekbone, and is due to undergo two operations in the coming week.

The third victim has a fracture to her skull and a ruptured left eardrum. She was released from hospital on Tuesday (April 8), but was readmitted the following day with severe head pains.

Three children were asleep in an adjoining room during the attack, but were unharmed.

Property worth more than £1,000 was taken (US$1,672.33) and withdrawals totaling £3,000 (US$5,016.99) were made on one of the victims' bank cards.

Earlier, the father of the three Emirati sisters said the assailant had attempted to kill them.  

COMMENT: It should be emphasized that hotel security in London is comparable to other European cities.

Unfortunately, due to the size of the suite which was occupied by the UAE family, an unlocked secondary door was left unlocked, perhaps by one of the children, which enabled the assailant to access the suite.

Jaafar Nasser al-Najjar told Emarat al-Youm newspaper that although his daughters had valuable possessions in their hotel room, the attacker left without stealing anything.

The attack happened at in the early hours of Sunday in a room on the seventh floor of the four-star Cumberland Hotel, next to Hyde Park and the main Oxford Street shopping thoroughfare. 

A man has been charged with attempted murder of the three female Emirati tourists in their luxury London hotel suite, police said on Friday (April  11).

Philip Spence, 32, of no fixed abode, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and one of aggravated burglary and will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday (April 12). 

Spence will appear with Thomas Efremi, 56, of Islington, north London, who is charged with handling stolen goods and fraud by false representation, and James Moss, 33, of Finsbury Park, north London, who is also charged with handling stolen goods.

Carly Baker, 31, of Finsbury Park, has been charged with handling stolen goods and has been bailed to appear at Westminster Magistrates' on Tuesday (April 15).

The attack is likely to affect the number of UAE tourists traveling to Britain. A recent poll revealed that most Emiratis no longer consider Britain their favorite tourism destination after the attack.

The poll carried out by the UAE newspaper al-Roeya revealed that a strong 76.5% of Emiratis no longer favor traveling to Britain.

Germany now tops the list of favored destinations for Emirati tourists, according to the poll, followed by Singapore, Malaysia and Switzerland.

UAE tourists also spend an average of $250 per night in Britain, the paper said, citing government tourism figures.

More than 23% of Emiratis indicated that a “slow investigation and meager security at the hotel made tourism in Britain dangerous and unsafe,” according to al-Roeya.