London hotel owner denies responsibility for Emirati sisters attack

London hotel owner denies responsibility for Emirati sisters attack
Image courtesy: The Cumberland Hotel/ Facebook.
Published: 27 May 2019 - 1 p.m.
By: Priyanka Praveen
The hotel owner of the Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch, where three Emirati women were attacked by a hammer-wielding man, has denied responsibility for the incident, GLH said in a statement.

In 2014, the three Emiratis sisters were attacked in their hotel room by Philip Spence. One of the sisters Ohoud al-Najjar was disabled and was left with serious brain damage, while her sisters suffered other symptoms.

The sisters who are from Abu Dhabi, are now suing the hotel claiming that security at the property was inadequate and that allowed the attacker to reach the upper floors without getting stopped by security.
The perpetrator roamed around several floors on the hotel before entering the sisters’ room which was unlocked and carried the attack.

A two week civil case at the Royal Courts of Justice in London ended on Wednesday to allow the judge to consider his judgement, which is not expected for several months, sister title Arabian Business reported.

In a statement, GLH said that it bears no responsibility for the incident. “The Al Najar sisters have our deepest sympathy for the horrific injuries they received at the hand of Philip Spence whilst staying at our hotel in 2014,” the company statement said. “However, we cannot accept responsibility for [the] attack which is why we are contesting the Al Najar family’s claim in this trial.”

The statement added that the company intends to demonstrate that security was in line with standard procedures at many other busy hotels at the time.

The sisters legal representatives brought in a security expert who explained that several security steps were skipped which allowed Spence to get to the rooms. In addition to that, the court was also informed about how the hotel failed to implement CCTV cameras across the lobby.

According to Arabian Business, the company however, said that these steps would have done little to prevent the incident. “The sad truth is that this unfortunate incident would not have happened if the Al Najar family had not left their bedroom doors deliberately propped open,” the statement added. “Our lawyers will further argue that Mr Spence’s unwarranted attack was an entirely unpredictable event.”

The Guardian reported that 33-year-old Spence already had 37 convictions for 62 offences dating back to 1993, including a hammer attack on his landlord in 2007. Spence was described during his trial as “a crackhead”.

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