Man appears in court over city hammer attack

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A MAN has appeared in court charged with attempted murder over a hammer attack in Portsmouth.

James Hemming appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The 28-year-old was led to the dock in handcuffs by a security guard.

Wearing a grey tracksuit and glasses, Hemming, of Unicorn House, Cross Street, Portsea, confirmed his name and address to magistrates.

Police charged him on Sunday night after he was arrested on Friday evening.

It comes as a 17-year-old girl remains in hospital with life-changing injuries following an attack in Shearer Road, Fratton, on April 11.

Prosecutor Nick Hoyle said: ‘It’s a very traumatic brain injury indeed – two fractures to the skull.

‘It has left the aggrieved unable to communicate some weeks later.’

Relatives of Hemming were at court, as well as police officers in the case.

Hemming did not make a plea.

He did not say anything and his face was emotionless as he was handcuffed and led back down to the cells.

There was no application for bail.

He was remanded in custody to appear for a preliminary hearing at Portsmouth Crown Court on May 31.

Police made the arrest after one of the biggest manhunts in recent years in the city.

Following the attack just before 7pm on Monday, 
April 11, there was a detailed forensic examination at 
the scene and dozens of officers carried out house-to-house enquiries across Portsmouth.

CCTV images of the suspect were released by police and widely shared on social media.

A £5,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest.

Pompey fans were asked for their help with the appeal being screened at the Wycombe game at Fratton Park.

Officers held a reconstruction with a lookalike to retrace the suspect’s steps in the days before the assault.

And last week detectives announced they were widening the search and working with forces in Dorset, Surrey, Sussex and London to help find the culprit.