Plea in London hammer attack on UAE sisters

Published October 8th, 2014 - 03:00 GMT

A British man has admitted to battering three sisters from the UAE with a hammer during an attack at an upscale London hotel, but denied trying to kill them, reports from London said.

Philip Spence has admitted to three counts of grievous bodily harm. The plea was entered last week but could not be reported until Monday because of a judge’s order, the AP reported.

Spence is due to go on trial this week for attempted murder, which he denies. British police had said there was no indication the victims were targeted because of their nationality. One of the sisters lost her left eye and a significant amount of blood, with severe damage to her brain in the attack. A second sister suffered two fractures to her skull, a broken left arm and a fractured cheekbone, while the third sister suffered a ruptured left eardrum and a skull fracture.

Three children, who were sleeping in another room, on the seventh floor of the four-star Cumberland Hotel near Marble Arch were spared on April 6.

An Emirati couple were robbed by gun-toting thieves in a Paddington flat two weeks later. The alleged burglaries involving the Emirati nationals had sent shockwaves in the UAE, following which the UAE Foreign Ministry issued an advisory to Emiratis travelling to London. In its advisory, the ministry advised citizens to skip areas like Oxford Street and Piccadilly, which were listed as ‘dangerous’. Other no-go areas listed were Edgware Road, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Soho and Marble Arch.

However, a senior official of the London Metropolitan Police later told Khaleej Times that all areas in the UK’s capital were safe for Emirati travellers.

Commander Makhdum Chishty advised UAE visitors to stay vigilant and not carry large amounts of cash; to watch out for pickpockets; and to remain on main thoroughfares when taking in the sights of the city.

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