Injured Emirati sisters to appeal court ruling against London hotel
Earlier this year, a judge dismissed the claim that the hotel should be held responsible for the incident
Three Emirati sisters who suffered critical injuries when they were bludgeoned with a claw hammer as they slept are refusing to abandon their fight for justice, according to The National.
Last month, Fatima, Khulood and Ohoud Al Najjar, who were attacked in a London hotel room in April 2014, lost in their bid to secure compensation from the hotel they were staying at when the attack took place.
Khulood told The National that the family was taking the case to the UK’s Court of Appeal. Earlier this year, a judge dismissed their claim that the hotel should be held responsible for the incident because it lacked adequate security.
Philip Spence, then 33, was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder after the attack and was given a life sentence.
He was told he would serve at least 27 years before he could be considered for release, although it is unlikely he will ever be set free.
The family launched a separate case against the Cumberland Hotel, which has since been rebranded as the Hard Rock Hotel, but lost the case in June.
Papers are set to be lodged this week with the Court of Appeal, which the family hopes can persuade to reconsider the ruling.
In the hotel case, the sisters argued that Spence should not have been able to reach their seventh-floor room unchallenged. He entered their room, which was unlocked, and began stealing valuables, unleashing his hammer attack after he was disturbed.
Meanwhile, the hotel's owners denied liability, arguing that by leaving their room door open the women "voluntarily assumed the obvious risk of allowing anyone to enter the room while they were asleep inside".
Justice Dingemans sided with the hotel, owned by Malaysian company GLH Hotels, saying that although the attack was foreseeable, the likelihood of such a violent attack occurring was “very low”.
“My jaw just dropped,” said Khulood, the oldest sister, describing her reaction after finding out they had lost the case.
“It was so disappointing. The judge just closed the file, without anything. I can’t explain the feeling – after five years of suffering – to end up with no justice.
“I do believe that the UK has a very strong justice system. That’s why I’m shocked that this decision could come from the judge. I’m confident something will change.”
“The judge was saying that Ohoud was guilty, because she said to my youngest sister to leave the door open because she couldn’t find the [key] card.
“Why did we choose a luxury hotel? If we have to close the door and put everything away we don’t need to pay a lot of money, we can go to a one-star hotel. I don’t understand why he would give a decision like this."
All three sisters suffered life-changing injuries after Spence, a "hotel creeper" and drug addict, launched his savage attack.
Ohoud has been most affected, losing 95% of her brain function and the ability to communicate.
GLH Hotels did not respond when contacted for comment.