Monday, April 7, 2014

UK: Update--Intruder Uses Hammer to Attack 4-Star Guest-Suite Occupants Upon Awaking

According to The Daily Mail, three wealthy female tourists in their 30s from the UAE, were attacked by an assailant wielding a hammer at London's Oxford Street's four-star Cumberland Hotel on Sunday (April 6).

One of the women is in a critical, but stable condition after the three were assaulted in their guest-room.

It is believed the three women, understood to be sisters, who were staying at the hotel with three children in adjoining rooms, may have disturbed an intruder.

Metropolitan Police believe the suspect entered a guest-room on the seventh floor where the three women were staying with their children.

All three victims were promptly hospitalized after being attacked at roughly 0200 hours on Sunday.

COMMENT: Detectives believe the suspect was interrupted in his theft effort when some of the occupants woke up, and the three women were subsequently assaulted with a hammer which was later found at the scene.

Scotland Yard has launched a nationwide manhunt to identify the attacker, who was not a guest at the hotel. He remains at large.

Detectives have retrieved CCTV surveillance footage and are questioning staff and other guests. 

Over the years, I have regularly cautioned our readers on how to stay safe in hotels, which I have said so often are a "magnet for criminals." 

I have also said that while four-and-five star properties do offer greater security infrastructure and monitoring, that presumes that guest-room occupants MUST use ALL security features provided by a hotel.

Additionally, I have never left my personal security in the hands of  anyone else and have been creative in augmenting hotel security features with my own low-cost security devices.

Let me give you several examples:

1. By displaying a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the outside of your guest-room door basically says "go away," which may be a signal to intruders that the guest-room is OCCUPIED;

2. Like most people, I HATE having hotel staff enter my guest-room to check the mini-bar, leave candy, turn my bed down, etc. A solution to this problem AKA annoyance is to do #1 above; and

3. I also make it a habit of carrying a door-stop constructed of rubber which I can easily cut with my handy-dandy Swiss Army knife to fit the door jam. There! Problem solved!

Now, let me give you a list of things you can tangibly do to significantly reduce the risk of having an intruder show up in your guest-room when you wake up in the morning:

a.  First of all, DO 1 through 3 above;

b. If your guest-room door does not have an optical viewer or "peep-hole," check out!, as this is a critical security feature in all hotel properties;

c. Whenever you go into your guest-room use ALL locks provided, including a locking device that prevents someone from accessing your room;

d. Let's think a bit about how the intruder getting into the family's suite. Unless there is physical evidence that the intruder used forced-entry to access the suite, we must assume that the outer door of the suite may have been unlocked, although most guest-room doors are designed to always lock; and

e. Potentially, if lock picks were in skilled hands, the lock potentially could have been surreptitiously opened.

Presumably, the Metropolitan Police will get to the bottom of how, precisely, the intruder gained access to the guest-room.

The fact is that the intruder DID access the suite in which the family was staying.

One can only hope that police are able to prove how the intruder technically gained access to the suite, as that could definitely impact on the charges levied against the assailant at such time as he is taken into custody.